Students seeking fitness center upgrades

Some students think the equipment in the Fitness Center is in need of improvement.

The Castleton Fitness Center has long been a local workout hotspot for students and Castleton residents, bringing in an average of 150-200 students every day.

However, few truly understand what it takes to maintain the center. For the past six years, that job has fallen to VTSU Castleton softball coach, Eric Ramey.

“For me, it’s about making sure I’ve got work-study students… my employees are here to supervise and sign in and go around and do the minor things that need to be done to keep it representable,” Ramey said. “For the most part, the people that use the Fitness Center wipe down the equipment.”

Ramey puts most of the equipment management up to the employees and users of the gym. 

However, Wes Landon, VTSU Strength and Conditioning coach, runs his gym for athletes a little differently. He is funded through the Athletics Department and coaches all of the athletes exclusively in his gym. 

“I do everything. I take care of all my equipment,” said Landon. “You can have newer, shinier things, but if it was a car, my engine’s still working very well. It’s just an older version of a car. Everything works very well in here.”

Landon maintains his equipment as best as possible to save the Athletics Department money. The equipment may not be in perfect shape, but it gets the job done, he said.

“Some of them have bolts that come out but, we just pop them back in and it works good again,” said Masson Billert, a work-study student for the center.

Despite Ramey’s efforts to maintain the public fitness center, however, some students complain that it is “small,” “old” and “crowded.” 

Ramey said he has always been aware of people complaining but, said he has never received complaints himself. 

“There’s a difference between, I get receiving complaints and people complaining and so what people are complaining about hasn’t come to me,” Ramey said.

However, Ramey said he realizes a need for change in the center. 

“Like anything, you can always update equipment, right?” Ramey said. “To list priorities is update some of the equipment that’s older, that’s been here since long before I was supervising here.” 

When asked about the funding to do this, he replied, “I have zero funding for the Fitness Center.”

Fortunately, Ramey has been working with Zack Durr, Student Government Association treasurer, to make some improvements. Durr originally talked to Ramey in 2022 about using SGA funds to buy new equipment for the center.

“I had emailed Eric, set up a meeting with him, and he and I talked and got some things ironed out for what the equipment we were gonna order,” Durr said. 

Durr was able to get a $10,000 grant from the SGA to buy new barbells, bike seats, dumbbell stickers, and a few other major equipment machines. 

“Right now, we’re looking into, with one of our delegates, possibly doing the ellipticals,” Durr said.

The SGA has been unofficially fostering the Fitness Center in funding over recent years, Durr said. Every year, SGA members are encouraged to collaborate with Ramey about future developments. 

“It’s not necessarily a set amount, but it’s usually somewhere around $5,000 to $10,000,” said Durr. “We’ve taken on the brunt of funding because nobody else really will. So, the student government spends money on it now.”

Ramey suggested another possible solution to this funding issue. 

“There’s a lot of fees that get collected on every student right,” Ramey said. 

He suggests that a portion of these fees should be redirected towards the Fitness Center. This could help him update equipment and get necessary improvements done, he said. 

In addition, Ramey said he hopes to get rid of the big desk in the center to free up space and add an ID scanner at the entrance of the Fitness Center.

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