Constructed in the summer of 2016, the outdoor weight shed behind the track is open to PLNU students Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and has served as a convenient means for workouts. While it is tiny, intended to be only temporary and has experienced some inevitable growing pains, it has been seen as an overall success by those associated with it.
“We love having this place. It’s been awesome,” said senior Tom Stein-Cartford, one of several students who hosts workouts by the shed. “We have one of the most beautiful views in the world.”
While the location has a great view and provides many workout options to students, it has been noted that the young shed has room for growth in terms of available equipment.
“The heaviest of the light and the lightest of the heavy, there’s a 50-pound deficit,” said sophomore applied health science major Kera Wilson, another student who hosts workouts. “If you have somebody who’s a beginner, a 25-pound dumbbell would be heavy, but if you come out here regularly, a 75-pound dumbbell is a little heavier than where you would want to be.”
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in providing workout options to students is the fact that its location is even more confined when an event is occurring on the track or soccer field. Out of respect for spectators, a large portion of the surrounding area by the shed is off-limits.
“They don’t like our interference with the track because it’s distracting with the audience,” said Stein-Cartford.
Perhaps an expansion of the temporary shed could solve these current issues. According to intramural director Alisa Ward, athletic director Ethan Hamilton has been developing such plans, though progress appears to be stalled.
“In the long run we really need a real fitness facility because we have 2,500 students and a giant kinesiology department as well as an athletics department,” said intramural director Alisa Ward. “Hamilton drew up some ideas for storage and the weight shed was going to be a part of that. For some reason it did not take place. I’d assume it was a matter of cabinet approval, but I am not certain.”
In an email interview, Hamilton said that a fitness center would be beneficial, but “it would need to be part of the university’s master plan.”
“I am very interested in building a fitness center for the university,” said Hamilton. “I think it would provide a ton of value not only for athletics but for students, faculty and staff… I have not been able to quite figure out where it is on their list.”
According to Stein-Cartford, the holdup is not a financial issue. “This is something that’s been in the works for over a decade… The money has already been raised, which is a point to make known.”
Regardless of future potential, the current weight shed is seen as a good workout experience for students, perhaps one that could be a little more known.
“There could definitely be more people coming in. There’s a lot of dead spaces,” said senior applied health science major Riley Whitsitt. “The biggest issue with the fact it’s being underused is that most people don’t know it’s here. I’d love to see more people coming down.”
The patch behind the track might not be recognized by many students, but those associated with it do feel that it deserves more attention.
“It’s not what we need, but it is what we have and has been really fun,” said Ward. “It is so beautiful looking out at the ocean. It would be even more practical if it were a two-story building. I think of a lot of students have no idea the shed currently exists.”