After more than two months of being closed, the weight room of the BYU-Hawaii Fitness Center reopened on Monday, Sept. 16. Initially only planned to close for two weeks at the beginning of July to redo the lighting and ceiling, asbestos was found in the ceiling which lead to an extended closure to remove the minerals.
Rob Angerbauer, a senior from Texas studying exercise and sports science, and student supervisor of the BYUH Fitness Center, said, “Back in July, we were scheduling a time, a week or two, for the weight room to be closed so the lights and ceiling could be redone. When the company got here to redo the lights and ceiling, they found asbestos [toxic dust] in the ceiling.
“What they had to do was bring in another company to take care of the [asbestos]. That took them some time. Once that was done, the other company had to come back and finish the lights and ceiling. That put everyone behind schedule, which is why the weight room has been closed for so long.”
Angerbauer said the lights and ceiling had been redone, the walls had been painted and the flooring was redone.
Feeling frustrated by the long weight room closure, Tyrell Gemmell, a senior majoring in psychology from New Zealand, said, “It made it hard for some people to get a routine going. Especially during the summer when you have a set work schedule and you kind of want to have a set exercise schedule too. It made it a bit hard because we have to find other means of working out.
“I know some people turned to alternative methods of working out. Some people were doing bodyweight exercises, while others were going elsewhere to lift weights. I would go to my brother-in-law’s house, but I could only go a few times because of where he lives and also scheduling. It was very inconvenient.”
Some students said they were going to CrossFit in Kahuku and others were traveling all the way to Kaneohe to access weights.
Gemmell said he felt students were angered and disappointed over the long closure. “We would be told it would open in a certain week only to find out it was pushed back and that happened several times. There was a lack of communication from the gym about why it was closed and when it would open.”
Mason Roberts, an undeclared freshman from Utah, said, “It was tough coming to school here and not having access to any weights for my first weeks here, but I’m happy to finally be able to lift again.”
Gemmell remarked, “I’m excited to have the weight room finally reopened. I know it’s going to be packed for at least a few weeks after opening. It’s going to be good to get back into a solid exercise routine, that should help me better in my academic life.”
According to Angerbauer, there is no new equipment in the weight room, but there is a strong possibility new machines and equipment may be in at the end of the year.
The BYU-Hawaii Fitness Center weight room is open on Monday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesday to Saturday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. with closures during the day due to classes and cleaning.