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Fitness center hours to be improved

The restricted and highly unpopular fitness center hours are about to be changed for the better. Eastern’s athletic department is currently working on plans to completely revise the fitness center schedule to make it more available for students.

“We want to make the fitness center open much earlier in the morning and much later in the evening,” Athletic Director Mark Wagner said.

The current hours are from 11:45 a.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays, with an hour and forty-five minute shut-down period between 1:15 and 3:00 p.m. The fitness center closes earlier on Fridays, at 7 p.m., and Saturday it is only available from noon till 2 p.m.

Plans are in the works for a new system that will require students to swipe their e-card in order to get into the fitness center, according to Wagner and Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham. Security cameras will also be installed to prevent equipment from being stolen.

The hours have been shrinking over the past several years due to a lack of student workers, who, because of safety and theft issues, need to be on duty when the fitness center is in use. The proposed changes were designed with the intention of making the fitness center less dependent on student workers.

“We want to have it staffed as many hours as possible,” Wagner said. A buddy system might also be made a requirement in order to prevent injuries when staff are not on duty.

For many students the changes come as a welcomed relief. Senior Kenny Long, like lots of other students, has a hard time using the fitness center in the midst of his full-time schedule and schoolwork. “I try to come sometimes and it’s closed. Then I have to go all the way home,” Long said. “I think it’s especially harder for people who live off-campus.”

The athletic department expects to announce the time changes sometime in the next few weeks. They are currently working with companies to figure out the logistics of the new system.

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