Taylor Gym reopened its basketball courts on March 1 following the COVID Response Team’s announcement making masks optional in all Lehigh buildings.
Besides a short stretch last fall, the basketball courts have been closed since students were sent home in the spring of 2020.
Taylor Gym assistant manager Genna Albano said the courts were open for the first week of the fall semester, after which they attempted to reopen the courts in the middle of the fall semester by appointment only. The courts were only open for three to four weeks because of issues with masking compliance.
“We found that students were not abiding by the mask mandate,” Albano said.
While Taylor Gym opened its fitness center, climbing wall and racquet courts on Jan. 31 of this year with “normal hours,” the basketball courts remained closed for recreation until the March 1 announcement.
After Lehigh announced that students did not have to wear masks in select parts of the libraries, Campus Athletics submitted a proposal to the CRT to expand fitness and recreation options. The proposal included eliminating appointments and capacity limits and opening the basketball courts, Albano said.
Zach Stimmel, ‘22, who is also a member of Lehigh’s club basketball team, said he is thrilled about the reopening of the courts.
“I think it’s great,” Stimmel said. “A lot of how I met people when I was a freshman was through the gym.”
Stimmel said prior to the closure, he used to play basketball at Taylor Gym at least once a week, depending on the week and his club basketball schedule.
Since the closure, Stimmel has been playing at Grace Hall with the club team but is now excited for the opportunity to play at Taylor again.
“It is good for the underclassmen,” Stimmel said. “It gets people active and (gives them) the chance to meet new people.”
Aidan Gales, ‘22, also used to be a regular at the Taylor Gym courts and is excited to get back to it.
Before the pandemic, Gales would go to Taylor to play basketball three to four times a week. He is hopeful he can go two to three times a week now that it has reopened.
“Now it is really easy to just go into the gym,” Gales said. “It is just like it used to be. We can just walk into the gym with no mask and hoop.”
Since its opening, Gales said he and his friends have gone to Taylor to play basketball regularly.
The basketball courts are open to students as well as faculty and staff, without a reservation.
The courts are open for recreational use from 8:45 a.m. until 10:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, except when the Badminton Club has the space from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
On Saturdays, the courts are open for recreational use from 12:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The hours are the same on Sundays, except from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the Badminton Club reserves it.
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