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A petition to extend the Sports Centre’s opening hours has reached 324 signatures so far, gaining 200 in one day when it began circulating two weeks ago.
Lancaster student Dean John began the petition claiming that students wishing to exercise at around 5pm face excessive competition for equipment on the basis that the working day finishes around this time, increasing demand for gym equipment.
On most days the Sports Centre closes at 9.30pm, with the exception of 8.30pm on a Friday, and 5.30pm and 5pm on a Saturday and Sunday respectively. John’s petition asks that the closing times be pushed back to midnight to alleviate the problem of limited equipment.
Some of the people who have signed the petition have also suggested extending weekend opening times and having access to a wider variety of equipment, among other measures.
“We seriously consider all requests for change to services at the sports centre and we are monitoring usage to give this the consideration it requires,” said Head of Sport, Kim Montgomery, in a statement last week.
“The centre generally and the fitness rooms are very busy at peak times so to ensure that existing members continue to experience the best use of facilities we have currently stopped the sale of public memberships at peak times,” Montgomery added. “We are also monitoring ‘pay and play’ usage of the fitness rooms during peak times to control the numbers of people using the gym equipment.”
LUSU Vice-President (Activities), Marc Handley, is aware of the petition and sympathises with John. He feels that “people voicing their concerns is only a good thing, providing they bear in mind that nothing can be solved at the drop of a hat.”
“Seeing I have been part of the consultation process which occurred with this new centre during the early stages of the last academic year, we always knew that there would be a rush at the times just after work and into the early evening,” he continued. “The reason why there is a rush is because everyone wants to go then, but if we were to double or triple the amount of machines/space it means that for the majority of the time, most machines would go unused.”
“The Sports Centre has already extended its opening hours on both sides of the day”, Handley added. “Hopefully this group can be used as a student forum for them to voice their concerns to the Sports Centre, which I know they [the Sports Centre] are well aware of.”