Built in 1970, the Stoller Center has fallen behind the growing number of student athletes, exercise science students and general student
While the athletic department
has tripled in size and athletic administration is doing their best to accommodate with the resources they have students, coaches and professors have expressed that the facilities have become inadequate.
The inadequacy in both size and environment is causing faculty to voice their opinions and students to go so far as paying for gym memberships outside of Pacific.
Professor Shawn Henry explained that the Exercise Science Department is extremely limited in space due to the constraints on the Stoller Center.
In addition to the exercise science faculty being spread across campus because there is no space in the Stoller Center to house them, the department has become quite familiar with being creative when finding space.
Not only is the department cramped in laboratory and educational space, its two storage facilities are located in an electrical closet and in the women’s locker room. The departments dunk tank is even located in a janitorial closet.
“We bring professionals in the community to the janitorial closet to test in the dunk tank,” Henry said. “That’s not putting our best foot forward as a university.”
Henry said it is becoming more challenging to provide the same quality of experience to students with spaces being as stretched thin as they are.
“This space is so heavily utilized, it gets to be a nightmare,” Henry said. “The only solution is to build more space.”
Being a heavily utilized space is not just an issue for the exercise science department. It has become increasingly difficult for sports teams that use the gymnasium and the field house for practice because there is so much competition to reserve space.
With the addition of Junior Varsity Programs, basketball and volleyball have had to extend their practices later to accommodate for the extra numbers.
Director of Intramurals and Recreation Skyler Archibald said he is concerned about being able to find the time for intramurals that use the gym to practice and play with all of the foot traffic there.
Head Swim Coach Alexander Webster said the lack of space in the weight room is one of the major reasons his team doesn’t do lifting practices, which is a standard part of training for other swim teams in the Northwest Conference.
Henry said while exercise science is an interdisciplinary program of study, being in the Stoller Center is beneficial to both the Exercise Science Department and the Athletic Department to be together because of how much they intertwine.
“We use this whole building as a laboratory,” Henry said. “It makes sense to be here because this is where human movement takes place.”
Between athletics, academics andgeneral student foot traffic to the fitness center, camps and sporting events Henry said the Stoller Center is arguably the most active building on campus and it is currently not an acceptable facility for all of the events that take place in it.
Henry said the fitness center specifically is inadequate in regards to both size and equipment.
Sophomore Sarha Abu pays $20 per month for an outside gym membership because she said she felt uncomfortable in the Pacific fitness center.
“I tried to go in once but I just felt so uncomfortable,” Abu said. “The fitness center definitely is not friendly to non-athletes.”
Abu said her current gym discourages “gymtimidation,” a problem she said is very prevalent at the fitness center. She said the supervision and strict rules about revealing clothes, dropping weights and dangerous behavior is something that is severely lacking at Pacific.
“If it wasn’t for my current gym I would still be extremely unhealthy,” she said.
Senior Katie Fiddler said she also pays for an outside gym membership because the number of students using the fitness center is too large to be accommodated.
Henry said the solution that is in the university’s best interest would be to follow Athletic Director Ken Schuamnns plan and build an additional building on the right side of the Stoller Center.
Schumann said this additional building would be the main hub for exercise science, opening up the Stoller Center for more athletic use and be home to an expanded fitness center, which would alleviate congestion.
While Henry expressed his appreciation for the athletic department and their efforts to make the Stoller Center usable, he said it has come to a point where expansion is unavoidable if Pacific expects to continue to grow in size and bring in perspective students.
“Weneedtobecomeproactive rather than reactive,” he said.
While the athletic department has fully utilized the limited space it has, it is reaching its limits for what it can offer students.