The Board of Trustees approved funding for renovation designs of the IBC Student Recreation Center and intends to end the university’s lease of Temple University Fitness in 2020, officials said at a facilities committee meeting last week.
On Monday, a university spokesperson walked back on the Board’s conversations and wrote “no decisions have been made” about the future of TUF. Its lease will be re-evaluated closer to 2020.
The $202,000 will fund redesigning the space to match the Student Athletic and Recreation Complex that opened at 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue in Fall 2017.
Designing the facility will take four to six months to complete, said Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group. After the design is complete, a start date will be set for construction.
“It’s too soon to discuss construction timelines because, at this point, only design services have been approved by the board,” university spokesman Benjamin Palestino wrote in a statement to The Temple News.
The design work will include reconfiguring entry points into the facility, renovating the locker rooms, repurposing two racquetball courts and a group fitness room to add cardio equipment and updating bathrooms to be gender-neutral “to provide sufficient fitness offerings” to the Temple community, Palestino said.
On campus, there is a divide between students who favor the IBC or TUF when choosing to exercise. Some students said they prefer TUF for its cardio machines and mat space for strength exercises.
“It’s going to force a lot of people into [the STAR Complex],” said Amanda McGill, a junior environmental studies major. “A lot of people that do a lot of cardio will be upset about that, especially because TUF has a lot of cardio equipment, and I know a lot of girls tend to go there…because there’s a lot of guys [at IBC].”
“IBC is not as welcoming, in my opinion,” Myiah Davis, a junior psychology major, said. “I’m glad that they’re upgrading it. … I’d definitely like to see more space because it’s really cramped in there.”
“I like [TUF] because it’s spacious,” Davis added. “I don’t feel intimidated here or anything. … Even though I’m not going to be here in 2020, I would want other people to experience that, and I think if [the Board is] going to close it down, that would be terrible.”
But other students recognize a need to upgrade the IBC’s facilities.
Nash Seiberlich, a junior risk management and insurance major, thinks IBC’s renovations are necessary and that new equipment, better airflow and more space are essential.
“It’s a terrible facility right now,” Seiberlich said. “All of the equipment is so old and breaks all the time. It gets so hot and humid in there. It just needs a little renewal.”
The IBC’s new design will also eliminate and repurpose some of the only racquetball courts on campus, which could mean the elimination of the two-credit racquetball class.
Steven Lengkeek, a vice dean in the College of Public Health, and Jeff Bazin, assistant director of Information Technology Services, have both been coaching Temple’s racquetball class since its establishment in Fall 2017. They said they were not formally informed of the Board’s decision.
Students are also worried that by eliminating TUF, the two remaining on-campus recreation facilities will become overcrowded.
McGill and freshman communication studies major Colleen Claggett would both like to see more weightlifting platforms in the new renovations of the IBC.
“I’m kind of excited to see what they do with the IBC because the STAR Complex looks so good, but I’m also kind of scared because I know a lot of people do go to TUF, so I’m afraid IBC is going to be very busy and overrun,” Claggett said.