Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Daphne’s Dispatch: OU is a massive school, why is Ping the only gym?

Ohio University’s Ping Recreation Center is the only student gym on the Athens campus. As a result of an influx of students admitted to the campus, the gym is becoming extremely overcrowded. It leaves many of us students asking ourselves, “Why is Ping the only gym?”

Ping was opened in January 1996. During that school year, OU had 19,168 students enrolled on its Athens campus. The incoming enrollment for Fall 2023 had a 4.6% increase in students since 2022. With the significant growth of students on campus, student centers like Ping have not been updated to withstand the influx of people. 

The construction of OU’s first student recreation center was initiated by the institution’s 18th president, Dr. Charles J. Ping. Ping turned to students to be involved in establishing a new campus facility. 

As I’m sure OU students’ health and wellness were in mind when designing Ping, the building's size just cannot keep up with the high number of students who visit daily. 

The facility's most crowded spaces are the weight rooms on the first and second floors. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to walk right up to a machine or bench and claim it as your own. But you're not as lucky if you go during peak hours, which we all know are from 4-7 p.m. Going at this time inevitably lengthens the duration of your workout.

Kate Coy, a freshman studying social work, shared her thoughts on Ping’s overcrowded tendencies. 

“I do not like waiting for machines,” Coy said. “If it’s not available I’m not going to do it …  (If I) wait for machines, my workout would be pushing an hour and a half to two hours.” 

Coy said she lifts weights often, so she is usually not bothered by the general presence of others. However, she said her friends get anxious when the gym is super busy. 

As busy college students with classes and social lives, we shouldn’t have to worry about our time in the gym being doubled or someone getting too close to us while squatting a PR. 

A quick solution to solve the lack of space in Ping would be converting just two of the total of seven gymnasiums to another weight room. I have not taken a tape measure to Ping’s basketball courts or yoga rooms, but those spaces do take up a lot of the facility’s square footage. 

This semester, the facility added adequate gym flooring to one of two of the old racquetball courts that are now free weight rooms with squat racks and rowing machines. The recent addition to the weight room shows that staff want to make the facility comfortable, but what will it take for them to start making capacity-related upgrades?

This recent influx of students in Ping should urge OU to think of solutions. Quick renovations to the facility could be underway, but if the Athens campus continues to enroll an excessive number of students, the student recreation center will only become more crowded.

Daphne Graeter is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Daphne know by emailing her at

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH