Just read back through the comments and awesome to see corroboration and people getting involved in the discussion – Danny / Rosie thanks for the Comments/swift action regarding tracking the usage! Quantitative evidence certainly makes the conversation more practical.
Reading the above comments makes me suspect we have a unique opportunity post lockdown, and alongside the Horizon project to adapt/upgrade the facilities and support the cultural change occurring at the gym to make sure it is one that’s diverse, inclusive and just fun to be in.
In the past few weeks, far more of a community within the gym and the “younger generation” appears to be growing, and to be candid it is the first time I’ve experienced this at the club. For example, Tuesdays and Thursdays, thanks to Colin we are trialling a weightlifting club, focusing on building a safe space to learn and push on, but also incorporating a social aspect where people who see each other most days anyway, actually get to know each other (and their names!). However, we’ve immediately run into the issue that there’s one bar, which is sub-optimal for 8 or so people in each group!
Like others have vocalised, the staff are awesome and try to be proactive with clearly differing priorities within the gym. For instance, I saw one PTI try to work out an amicable solution for the music the other day since one gentleman requested there be no music in the gym. As a result of the music being culled, people I feel resort back to headphones and this new culture and energy the gyms gaining wanes.
I’d like to be clear I’m not suggesting we lose the light or the space. Equally, I’m not suggesting we make the place unviable for other generations, or equally for people like Hugh who may one day want to come again or come on the odd occasion. I agree aesthetically the gym is lovely and we’d be bonkers to lose that, however, it is failing to be functional. Like others have highlighted, there are massive changes within sports culture and training currently, with people training consistently and expecting facilities that are functional and progressive.
Furthermore, over the last year, I think more than ever we are starting to appreciate the benefits of training on mental health, therefore, the conversation becomes one that is far greater than just physical health. Importantly, considering inclusivity, far more women appear to be getting into strength training, which is awesome. As a result, this means more people are vying for space, therefore, the facilities need to adapt to support this change and be a positive driver for this cultural change/diversity! Therefore, facility modernisation isn’t just a necessity for practicality or functionality, it’s a priority for inclusivity.
I’d add (not that anyone asked for my opinion!), that like the contributers above, I can’t personally understand how new changing rooms would be a useful investment in the grand scheme of things.
Perhaps moving the circuit / E-Gym upstairs (where there’s plenty of light!) with a small reduction in cardio equipment, and then downstairs focusing on an atmosphere conducive free-weights area with some additional functionality added in (say specific machines and sleds etc…) could work until there are relevant discussions around extensions and its future!
It would be interesting to hear what the Horizon team see as viable in terms of expansion in the coming years and whether it is realistically on the table! I’ve heard there may be talk of pushing the back wall/mirrored wall into the space behind, thus expanding without hampering any of the light/aesthetics etc…it would be interesting to hear if that is true!