Taylor Gym’s fitness center and recreation areas reopened to students for the spring semester on Jan. 24, the same day classes resumed.
New this semester, students may remain in Taylor Gym for 75 minutes, instead of the previously instituted 60 minute time slot. The fitness center is now open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and noon to 6:30 p.m. on the weekends. In order to access the facilities, students must schedule an appointment online through the IMLeagues website, a policy implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“We took feedback from the senate, CRT (COVID Response Team), students and staff,” said Genna Albano, assistant manager of fitness at Taylor Gym.
Another change implemented this semester is students no longer have to choose between keeping their workout to cardio or strength, as appointments can be made, allowing students to access the entirety of the Welch Fitness Center, Albano said. Previously, students had to specify which section of the gym they would go to for their workouts and remain there for the duration. The racquet courts, climbing wall and the recreational swim center still have their own reservations. The basketball courts remain closed for recreational activity.
Jason Yeung, ‘23, said he thought the gym’s policies were unfair to students last semester since he said their website would say Taylor Gym was full when it was not.
“If Lehigh wants to make things more normal, this is a start,” Yeung said.
While Yeung has not yet gone to Taylor Gym this semester, he said last semester he would go three to four times a week through reservations. This semester, he intends to use his own equipment at home.
“We are trying to do the best we can to work with the COVID-19 rules to open safely,” said Doug Strange, assistant athletic director at Taylor Gym. “We’ve been allowed to move forward and rely on our student staff like we used to.”
When checking into Taylor Gym, students must verify appointments with the front desk staff, show their photo ID to staff, tap it on a card reader and put on a wrist band.
Albano and Strange said the gym has expanded their pool hours and allowed dance clubs to use studio spaces. They have a full staff composed of 120 students.
One rule that has not changed at Taylor Gym is the mask mandate, which requires mask wearing at all times.
“People coming in here have been really good with wearing masks,” Strange said. “Best I’ve ever seen since this pandemic.”
The Hitch Fitness Center, located in the Hitch House dorm, is an alternative gym on campus.
Last semester, Hitch House opened its doors as one of the new buildings for housing. The building has a fitness center that students are able to access.
Open seven days a week, Hitch Fitness Center features several treadmills, workout equipment and weights.
Similar to Taylor Gym, each student must wear a mask when exercising, but no appointment or reservations are necessary.
I will be interested to see the renovations done… Taylor Gym, though no doubt some are negative on its looks, or are at least dismissive it, really is a classic older structure on campus. Classic in the sense of being a high-quality gym or athletic structure characteristic of early 20th century America. It is one of my favorite structures at Lehigh and I place it amongst Lehigh’s historic seven: Linderman Library, the U.C./Packer Hall, the Alumni Memorial Bld., Packer Chapel, Grace Hall, Taylor itself, and the Fritz Engineering Lab. With its yellow bricks and red detailing, I always saw it as a pleasantly ‘warm’ structure on campus.