Goodman: It’s time to fix Blomquist

Goodman: Its time to fix Blomquist

Meredith Goodman, Columnist

Ever since I first stepped into the humid, un-air-conditioned structure that is Blomquist Recreation Center, I vowed to air my concerns to the appropriate university personnel. Time after time I have taken the Northwestern facilities surveys, suffering through questions about my gym usage in order to complain about Blomquist in the final open box. Well today is the day — I’m using my influence as a Daily columnist to air my grievances publicly.

The gym is actually a great option for South Campus and is convenient for my schedule when I need a quick workout. The student staff is very friendly and bears with me when I ask for obscure channel changes. The basketball courts are always buzzing with intramural sports, and I love hearing the dance music that pounds through the side gym.

According to NU’s fitness website, Blomquist was renovated “several years ago” (10, 20?) to the tune of “a quarter of a million dollars” (a speck in Northwestern’s gigantic budget). This incredibly vague statement frustrates me because Blomquist deserves another renovation. The machines are old and run down or completely broken and need to be replaced. There is no air conditioning and it is disgustingly hot, even in the dead of winter. The toilet seats in the women’s restroom are yellowing and the showers don’t look much better.

I promise that all the changes I am asking for are reasonable. I don’t need Blomquist to become a palatial gym like Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center on North Campus. If I want towel service, cardio and Zumba classes or gorgeous lakeside views from the track, then I will walk up to SPAC. In fact, I enjoy the down and dirty, gritty vibe of Blomquist. Its plain white walls and sweat-inducing temperatures beckon me to put forth my fullest effort in my workout. But when the only treadmill that is open has been broken for three weeks, I can’t appreciate this “blue-collar” gym.

NU’s administration has many incentives to renovate Blomquist. The most obvious benefit is that it would be beneficial to students’ well-being. Fitness is proven to be a de-stress activity. Each time I step onto an elliptical during a busy week full of midterms, student activities and homework, I am instantly soothed by the rhythmic beating of my heart. And with the University stressing efforts to promote mental health on campus, fitness should be one of the key means to that end.

Another reason is for the recruitment and retention of students. The first time I heard about Blomquist was during a Wildcat Days visit, when a student host referred to it as the “average Joe’s” gym on campus, a reference from the popular movie “Dodgeball.” This offhand comment made my mother and me question the overall state of NU’s facilities. After visiting another prestigious university the previous weekend with a spanking new gym and spotless dorms, NU’s disregard for its fitness facilities made us wonder if other parts of campus were also in need of repair.

I know that SPAC is and will continue to be the shining star of campus gyms. But we can’t allow half of the students on campus to be stuck with a subpar facility. If NU is serious about its commitment to student health and fitness, it will put forth the minimal resources needed to make Blomquist a functional gym.

Meredith Goodman is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].