The 45th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a bill Monday evening to fund nearly $7,200 of improvements to the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC), which will include the addition of new weights, mirrors and other pieces of equipment. The bill passed by a vote of 22-1-1.
According to the bill, submitted by College junior and SGA junior legislator Milan Udawatta, people working out on the fourth floor face “long wait times and congestion during peak hours,” which takes place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The bill states that long wait times are the result of a shortage of equipment.
“What’s frustrating is having to wait for equipment,” Udawatta said, adding that the improvements will likely take place in the next month. “These changes will help students get their workouts done in a reasonable fashion and will make workouts more enjoyable and safer.”
The equipment will be funded through Student Activity Fee money — the $89 component of tuition that students pay each semester — because WoodPEC currently does not have the necessary funds for the new equipment, Udawatta specified.
He said he recognizes that new workout equipment is expensive, but he also believes that new equipment is important for students.
“This bill is meant to fill a void in the gym that the WoodPEC hasn’t been able to do because they don’t have the funds,” he said.
Udawatta explained that he, along with WoodPEC administrators such as Equipment Room Manager Jamie McDermott, walked through the workout area on the fourth floor of the WoodPEC to identify the specific areas that were appropriate for funding.
“What we discovered was that students are waiting for certain equipment,” Udawatta explained.
The WoodPEC will also be adding an Olympic decline bench, two multi-angle benches and four Texas Power Bars, all for $4,135, according to the bill.
He added that the six power bars in the WoodPEC are popular pieces of equipment during work hours; adding four, he noted, will ensure that “all of the stations can be used at maximum capacity at any time.”
In addition, the bill states that the WoodPEC currently has a shortage of 5-, 20-, 25-, 30-, 35-, and 40-pound weights, equipment that is in high demand for students.
Udawatta explained that adding an additional set of these weights — at a total cost of $1,754.64 — will help reduce wait time for students working out at the WoodPEC.
The final addition to the WoodPEC will be two mirrors with wheels, which Udawatta said the WoodPEC currently does not have.
Rolling mirrors are important because they allow students to watch their form as they exercise, which is important for preventing injury, according to Udawatta.
Udawatta explained that the bill included adding new weights, benches and mirrors as opposed to cardio equipment because WoodPEC has already been investing money into cardio equipment during the past few years.
Udawatta explained he discussed with WoodPEC administrators possibly adding new cardio equipment in addition to new weights and benches, but the WoodPEC does not have enough space available to accommodate these machines.
“I wanted to make sure that whatever I created would be gender-neutral,” Udawatta explained. “I want to benefit men and women equally ... The reason this bill funds mostly weights is because the cardio equipment is mostly new.”
None of the current equipment has been replaced in four or five years, Udawatta explained, and much of the equipment has not been replaced for 10 years.
McDermott noted that he is glad Udawatta approached him about improving students’ workout experiences at the WoodPEC because he feels there is definitely a need for new equipment.
“We don’t have [all the equipment] we need right now,” McDermott said. “But more equipment and more weights will help students to get up and out [of the gym] quicker.”
Udawatta said he is thankful to the SGA legislators for supporting his initiative.
“I’m happy people recognize this is an issue and a great place for student government to get involved in,” he said. “It’s an expensive bill, but I’m happy they’re supportive despite the high price tag.”
— Contact Jordan Friedman