Temporary fitness center delayed by rising costs

Tamara Afzoud

The planned remodel of the Life Fitness Center is on hold as college officials consider alternative locations – including the parking lot behind the PE Building – for the temporary gym.

The cost of the remodel is escalating fast, and planners are trying to figure out how to save money, said Joseph Sullivan, vice president of business services.

The popular center is set to close for 18 months during the remodeled. While remodeling costs are covered by state bond money, relocation costs would be paid by the district.

A portable building to house the center is expected to cost $400,000, Sullivan said. Installation could cost up to $714,000.

During 18 months of construction, student participation in the fitness center could bring the college up to $750,000 — the reason why it is so important for the college to give students a substitute place to work out, Sullivan said. He added his concern that people now going to the center to work out would find another gym if this one closes for too long.

In earlier plans, the portable gym was to be installed and operational by the end of spring. Now construction will begin “hopefully by the end of summer,” said Julie Hendricks, facilities director.

The relocation is slated for the grassy area behind the Campus Center or the parking lot north of the PE building, Sullivan said

“The impact on student discomfort would be less on the upper field as opposed to in the parking lot, even though aesthetically it wouldn’t be the best thing to look at,” said Paula Congleton, head softball coach.

Those who work or study in the Campus Center say a large building would block the ocean view.

“I’m not against the remodeling, but I would prefer an alternative that doesn’t involve ripping up grass,” said Randy Bublitz, Culinary Arts teacher, whose office faces the field. “There aren’t enough open spaces as it is, and the problem with these temporary buildings is that they have proven to be not so temporary.”

The Board of Trustees facilities committee will discuss the location of the building tomorrow.