The UCD branch of Crunch Fitness is to close this June after providing health and fitness facilities to the university for 15 years, causing questions to be raised on the issue of temporary on-campus fitness services for students during the first half of the next academic year.
The closure comes as a result of the construction of the new UCD Student Centre, which will include a new gym as part of its facilities. However, this means that the university could spend a period of six months without proper gym facilities available on campus.
Crunch Fitness, an external company that is contracted by the university, will not be affiliated in any way with the new Sports Centre, according to Branch Manager, Karolina Zygmunt.
Zygmunt further stated that the date of closure in June is final, yet the option is still open to students to join the gym before it closes for a monthly fee of €49.
Student Centre Manager and project coordinator, Dominic O’Keeffe, was uncertain about the date by which the centre would be ready, but expects that it will be handed over to the university from the building firm in January of next year at the earliest, despite previous claims that it would be ready by September 2011.
On the issue of temporary gym facilities, O’Keeffe said that management were currently working on a temporary solution for students and staff, saying: “The Sports Centre management are actively working on getting a sports facility for students on campus.”
Assistant Sports Centre manager, Brian Cashman, said: “We haven’t been told anything officially.” Cashman added that he would “imagine that in the coming days, there would be a decision made with regards to it”.
In relation to the site of this temporary gym, Cashman proposed that it would probably “remain where it is. I would imagine they would keep it on the top floor.”
O’Keeffe is optimistic that the new centre will “bring new facilities and services to people” and stated his belief that the gym will get “active participation of anywhere between seven and ten thousand students per annum”.
The new Student Centre is expected to open in January 2012. When opened, it is expected that the new gym will be twice the size of what’s currently available along with free membership for current students. Alumni and graduates will also get a reduced rate on membership.