Students migrate to Newark gyms
Some say inconvenient hours, small space push workouts to off-campus facilities
Published: Monday, March 5, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 02:03
University students are opting to pay for memberships at off-campus gyms for better hours and space, rather than using the overcrowded school facilities included in their tuition fees.
"Sometimes I would have to wait 20 minutes to use a machine," said senior Tara DeMarco.
DeMarco currently exercises at Planet Fitness, located on Marrows Road, three to four times a week.
She originally exercised at the Harrington Fitness Center, but decided to look for other alternatives last year. Her main reasons for switching gyms included overcrowding, limited hours and long lines at the university facilities.
"I am 100 percent satisfied with my decision to buy a gym membership," DeMarco said.
Mary Magee, the general manager at Planet Fitness Newark, estimates between 200 and 250 of the location's patrons are undergraduate students at the university. Magee, a university alumna, noticed the overcrowding when she worked out at the university facilities.
"When I tried to work out at the student gym it was always packed," Magee said.
She believes the overcrowded facilities account for the high number of students who join her gym.
The university is addressing this issue with its 50,000-square-foot addition to the Carpenter Sports Building.The three-story expansion will include a new workout area, which Staci Truitt, the office coordinator for the Carpenter Sports Building, hopes will help solve the overcrowding issues.
"A lot of students need to wait in line," Truitt said. "We need a bigger fitness center to accommodate the students."
DeMarco finds the longer hours of operation at Planet Fitness more accommodating than those at the university's facilities. The gym is open 24 hours during the week, and opens at 7 a.m. during the weekends and closes at 7 p.m.
DeMarco and her three roommates have been paying members of Planet Fitness since last fall. She pays $20 a month to use the facilities, and her membership also includes guest passes, discounted beverages and tanning privileges.
Magee said Planet Fitness members who show a valid college student ID at the time of purchase save $29 in initial fees.
As a part of their tuition and student fees, students have access to the Harrington Fitness Center, the Independence Fitness Center and the Hen House located in the Carpenter Sports Building.
Each university gym operates on different schedules. The Hen House operates between 6:45 a.m. and 11 p.m. during the week. The smaller gyms, located closer to residence halls, have different hours. The Independence and Harrington Fitness Centers both open at noon Monday through Friday and close at 6 p.m., while the Hen House is the only university facility operating on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Although the Planet Fitness facility offers weight stations, massage chairs, tanning booths and various cardio machines, Magee said the university still has services her gym lacks.
"We do not offer any Zumba classes or anything like that," Magee said.
The university offers a number of classes, including Zumba, which are an additional fee. Students pay $3 for one class, $14 for a seven-class package or $48 for unlimited access.
DeMarco said she would welcome the changes to the university's facilities.
"If they install more machines and have better air-conditioning I would go back," she said.