The damage to the Kalamazoo College Anderson Athletic Center has been becoming more noticeable in the recent months. A section of the rubber floor in the weight room, that shows breakage to the concrete, is blocked off by signs that warn against dropping or bouncing weights on the floor.
Kevin Ewing K ’16 said, “It’s a huge inconvenience because it forces people to use the other racks, making it more crowded. There really are some lifts that should be done in platforms to do effectively. For any lift besides bench press there are now only six spots to do them versus eight, and those six spots are usually being used for lots of other exercises.”
The heavy weights that have been dropped on the floor by K students have contributed to the damage. Paul Manstrom, the Associate Vice President of Facilities and Management said, “[The floor] is the the result of the slow but steady pulverizing of the concrete floor that has been occurring since 2003 when a building renovation relocated the weight equipment to that room.”
The damage wasn’t detected until the summer of 2015 when students and staff began noticing soft spots in the floor or the ceiling beginning to sag. This resulted in an inspection from a structural engineer.
“It was determined that the floor was still able to support the weight machines in the room and the activities associated with those machines,” Manstrom said. “The engineer’s recommendation at that time was to prohibit the powerlifting routines going forward to prevent further structural damage.”
Following fall quarter, the structural engineer discovered tears in the metal deck, which could only be fixed by a removal and replacement of the concrete in the weight room and metal deck below it. That would mean closing down the weight room and the training room for the duration of renovation.
Even after repairs were complete, the engineer recommended that the college prohibit dropping weights on the repaired floor. Another solution to the damaged floor would be to relocate the weight room to a lower level in Anderson to avoid structural damage to the building. However, the renovation and relocation costs are beyond K’s resources.
Manstrom explained that he is currently working on a proposal to reinforce the floor to continue the use of the weight room without compromising structural integrity, but work won’t begin until the summer of 2016 when usage is light.