Carr Pool, Philips Gym to Undergo Renovations

Melissa Harris

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Oberlin College’s 44-year-old athletic facilities, Philips gym and Robert Carr Pool, are slated to undergo major renovations this March. Additions to the space will include a new fitness center, more cardio equipment, an additional weight room and a spinning room.

“This is not out of a want,” said Natalie Winkelfoos, Delta Lodge director of athletics and physical education. “It’s more of a need. I think that the plans that we have put forth are very modest, but they satisfy the hunger of Oberlin.”

The gym’s expansion will call for the demolition of both 184 and 190 Woodland Street, the two houses immediately south of Philips. The southern lobby of the gym will expand into the vacancy after the properties are torn down.

Winkelfoos added that although these plans are in the finishing stages, the final decision on all of the upgrades will depend on funding, which is mostly from donations.

Because Philips gym was constructed prior to Title IX legislation, the current facilities are designed to only serve one gender. Winkelfoos said construction will also include a large multi purpose room for additional programming and smaller multi-purpose room for fitness classes. Student Health Working Group member and College junior Dana Kurzer-Yashin said she met with Director of Student-Athlete Services and Wellness Jason Hudson this week to discuss safe-space hours in the gym.

“Members of the working group reached out to Natalie and Jason last spring, and that culminated in this past week to speaking with Jason about piloting two hours a month of women and trans hours at Philips gym in the weight room and cardio room,” Kurzer-Yashin said.

She also said this is hopefully the first step in creating more consistent hours for safe spaces.

“We’re really excited about this program starting and also seeing it expand in the future,” Kurzer-Yashin said. “Optimally, I’d like to see it getting more time and becoming a stable part of the schedule at least once a week.”

Renovations to the facilities will consist of creating new outdoor patio space and additional offices for counseling services and meetings. Winkelfoos said these expansions will help the Athletics department better accommodate Oberlin’s needs.

“You can see that we have grown on the athletics side but then also on the campus,” Winkelfoos said. “It’s grown in its interest in health and wellness, so any expansion we do will help address the needs of its users.”

Philips’ major expansions will come after internal renovations on Carr Pool are complete. Varsity Swimming and Diving Head Coach Andrew Brabson said the pool will start undergoing renovations this March and should be ready for the 2016–2017 swim season. The pool expansion will include four additional lanes, he said.

“Not only will [the lanes] benefit the swim and dive teams by allowing larger teams and more lane space for more beneficial practices, but we’ll also be able to get more programming in there as well,” Brabson said.

Brabson also said the Carr Pool expansion is partly in response to scheduling conflicts between different users. In the past, he said there has been difficulty in finding a way for a wide range of groups — high school swim teams, students, professors, the College’s varsity swim team — to use the space conveniently, but that the additional lanes should help accommodate those needs.

Carr Pool will be closed for the entirety of its renovations this spring, and the racquetball and squash courts will also be closed intermittently throughout construction. Philips gym will operate normally until the expansion project begins in 2017. Splash Zone Aquatic Center, a pool facility less than a mile south of Oberlin, will be open to students during pool construction.

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