Increased Enrollment Makes Gym Crowded

Nov. 25, 2009

FEEL THE BURN: A long line of students wait to sign up to use equipment in the Verdugo Gym fitness center. (Photo by Shaun Kelly)

On a typical weekday morning at the Lifestyle Fitness Center, it’s hard to ignore the whirring of the rotating belts of treadmills, the blaring upbeat music and the faint panting of exhausted students.But, it’s especially hard to ignore the mass of students that crowd into the fitness center at the Verdugo Gym for morning workouts.

Enrollment for physical education classes at the college has increased by an estimated 600 students. The number of students enrolled normally averages from 1,000 to 1,200, said Jon Gold, division chair of Health and Physical Education. This semester, however, nearly 1,800 students use the facilities.

With enrollment cut backs at Cal States and UCs, GCC has experienced an increase in student enrollment, Gold said.

“The fitness center has been a class that students have been able to enroll in because of the flexibility to attend the class. There is never a time conflict [within] [their] schedule,” he said.

The fitness center is open to students enrolled in physical education classes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Facilities are used by disabled students, used by staff and employees and undergo maintenance during 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which hours the center is closed to students.

The fitness center is an open-entry/open-exit class that allows students to enroll at any point in the semester as long they are able to complete required hours.

If students get dropped or withdraw from a class but still require units for financial aid, for insurance or to fulfill foreign exchange student requirements, “the center has been that safety net to get into to help these students,” Gold said.

With an estimated 50 to 60 percent more students enrolled in PE than usual, equipment at the Verdugo Gym is in constant use.

Gold estimated that 300 to 400 students use the center’s facilities daily.

“That’s a lot of people coming through here and using the center, and that means those machines are just on 24/7,” he said.

There are currently three treadmills, three cross trainers, a rock climbing machine and one bike that are defective at the fitness center.

The center did not have a lab tech during the summer and Gold said that it continued operating without one for five months. It currently has a lab tech that has ordered replacement parts for the non-functioning equipment.

A lab tech maintains and services fitness equipment, and inspects equipment prior to its use every morning.

The average lifespan of cardio equipment in gyms is about four to five years. Machines at the Lifestyle Fitness Center currently range from 2- to 17-years old.

The physical education division has been working to systematically replace one or two pieces of equipment a year for the past five to six years.

“If we waited until the equipment died we could be running into the tens of thousands [of dollars] to replace the equipment,” Gold said.

So far an estimated six treadmills, one cross trainer, two stationary bikes and one recumbent bike have been replaced.

To use facilities in the cardio section of the fitness center, students are required to sign up for the machine they wish to use. Students are limited to one name per sign-up sheet and 20 minutes per machine.

“Somebody might come in here and want to use the treadmill for an hour, but [they] can’t because that means for two sessions, [they] bump two people off,” Gold said.

With machines down, Gold said that students who could be using them end up waiting.

Instead of being able to use the machines when they want, students have to use other equipment until cardio machines free up.

Christine Andreasian, who oversees the sign-up sheets in the morning, said that the fitness center tends to get full from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Students have noted that the increased number of those enrolled in physical education classes, coupled with non-functional equipment has, at various times, resulted in a crowded gym.

Hospitality management major Mohamed Mahdy said that the gym tends to get crowded and noisy after 10 a.m.

Sociology major Angelica Kyrukchyan, who completes her workout four days a week between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., noted that the gym is generally crowded during this time. She also said that she often experiences a 10-minute wait before she is able to use equipment.

Student Chanel Secreto said that of the machines in the fitness center, “the treadmill is really hard to get on.”
“One time I went [to the fitness center] and there [were] no more slots [on the sign-up sheets],” she said. “All of the slots for the treadmill [were] filled up and I couldn’t get on that day.”

Secreto has waited 40 minutes to get on a treadmill.

Students who complete 32 hours at the gym per semester receive one unit of PE credit; 48 hours earn students 1.5 units; 64 hours earn two units; and 80 hours earn 2.5 units.

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