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Free weights at Ping Recreation Center at Ohio University Athens, Ohio Oct. 31, 2023.

Ping makes plans to address student concerns

Ping Recreation Center turned 28 years old last month and has been periodically updated since then to keep up with new workouts and student enrollment. But now, some current Ohio University students have expressed concerns about the lines for workout machines and a lack of weights.

Hanna Vorisek, the assistant director of Ping, said a plan has been drafted for repairing or replacing old equipment and purchasing more high-demand equipment. She said the equipment can range anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 per piece, which makes it difficult to determine the total cost of updates. 

Vorisek specifically highlighted that she would like to focus updates on cardio-based and abdominal workouts because those are popular right now and she wants to accommodate students doing those exercises.

“We see lots of students working out in the carpeted hallways and I would like to create spaces for those types of workouts,” Vorisek wrote in an email. 

Last year, a new track was installed and cost $192,500, which Vorisek said she hoped would better accommodate the walking and running community. There have also been 23 spin bikes installed and 10 treadmills replaced this year. Courtney Ryan, a freshman studying business administration, said she still feels like there could be more equipment. 

“There’s not a lot of treadmills open every time I want to walk or run on them,” Ryan said. “I feel like I have to fight a war to get a treadmill sometimes.” 

Ryan said she thinks that it would be beneficial for Ping to invest in more treadmills to accommodate the high demand for cardio-based workouts. 

Brianna Morgenstern, a third-year studying political science on the pre-law track, said that currently, there are not enough free weights to accommodate those who use light- to medium-weight equipment. 

“A lot of people use the same weights of like, say 25 to like 60,” Morgenstern said. “Everybody uses those, but there’s only like one of them. I feel like it would be good to get more and kind of cancel out the light or heavy weights that nobody uses.”

Morgenstern is also vice president of Womxn’s Empowerment Training. It is a student organization focused on promoting girls in the gym and creating a support system so they feel more comfortable. 

Morgenstern said that one of the problems the club has faced is that there are no designated areas for them to work out as a group. They typically end up splitting up and having the members do their own thing, but she says it would be nice if they had the option to do group workouts every once in a while. 

Vorisek said equipment availability comes down to the peak usage hours and renovating less used areas. Naturally, Ping is going to be busier during certain times of the day, Vorisek said, but she thinks that because of Ping’s generous operational hours, they are more than able to handle larger class sizes. 

Vorisek said there are also plans to convert what Vorisek calls underutilized areas into more useful spaces. For example, the second-floor racquetball courts could possibly be converted into a well-being hub. Vorisek said that through changes like these, Ping will be well-equipped to accommodate student demands in the long run. 

Ryan said despite having trouble finding a treadmill sometimes, that OU students have as good of a gym experience as students at other schools in the state, such as Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati.

“I think (Ping) is really cool with all the windows and the views for when you’re working out,” Ryan said. “Also, the rock climbing thing is really interesting, and I feel like (it’s) unique. So I feel like if anything, it might be an advantage.”


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