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Senior Erica Chapman hopes that her newly designed weight room at the Wade King Student Recreation Center will lead to safer lifting, less waiting and be less intimidating for students.

As last year’s lead personal trainer, Chapman initially noticed a need for a change last summer and felt that the existing layout should be altered due to safety precautions.

"I noticed that our most high risk situation lifts — that being like a back squat/front squat, dead lift, stuff like that — is in the smallest area of the weight room," Chapman said.

There was a trend among students asking for another squat rack that went hand in hand with Chapman's vision for a safer weight room.

"A lot of patrons were saying how, ‘I've come to the rec, warmed up with full intentions that I'm going to squat and it's been an hour to an hour and a half and I still haven't gotten a squat rack,’" Chapman said.

Clearly the previous layout would not be able to safely account for more high-risk lifting as it stood, so Chapman capitalized on the clear connection to make the weight room safer while still being able to add more room for what the students wanted.

"I had my idea [to] flip-flop the whole weight room, take the dumbbells from the other side and the squat racks and just flip them," Chapman said.

Chapman discussed this idea with her superiors and received the green light to make her changes. The process to make sure every piece of her plan was evaluated and had reasoning behind it, took three-to-four months, Chapman said.

"We've gone from people standing around for an hour and a half at high time, around 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., to only seeing around 15-20 minutes now," Chapman said.

Although the new arrangement is an improvement, it may take time to get used to it.

"Overall, I think she did a good job,” senior Yeung Yip said, who uses the weight room regularly. “She spaced it out really well, but at the same time it's a little hard to get used to.”

Junior Justin Manipis, a frequent gym attendee, echoed the same ideas saying that some of the placement of the dead lift stations could be better. Still, both Yip and Manipis were on board with the changes, noting that it's the only option for an efficient weight room.

"It's the only real arrangement that can work in this formation," Manipis said.

What the rearrangement also does is lowers the intimidation of coming to the weight room and being able to reach fitness goals, whether you're new to the gym or not.

"We're just having a bigger initiative for letting people know that we want everyone to experience the weight room because we have such a great facility," senior Ali Olson, employee at the rec center, said.

Olson applauded all facets of Chapman's redesign, going as far as to say that it's the best she has seen the gym designed since she's been at Western.

See for more information on all things devoted to Wade King Student Recreation Services.


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