As Ratner's construction draws to a close, the University has focused its attention back onto the Henry Crown Field House, which is currently under renovation.
Henry Crown, which formerly housed two weight rooms, has seen its varsity weight room turn into an expanded multipurpose room. The former weight room was adjacent to the multipurpose room and separated by a thin divider. It is intended for club sports and varsity teams, as well as for recreational use.
The best equipment from these spaces has been consolidated into one room.
John Carey, facilities manager, said the renovations come as a response to the University's needs. With the new Ratner Center weight rooms meeting the community's demand, Henry Crown will be used to meet the University's need for versatile athletic spaces, according to Carey.
But Carey said that the old gym space is not its only virtue. "Crown is a good place for the sophisticated lifter. There are a lot of free weights, so you have to know what you're doing." In an effort to revamp the space, Henry Crown's weight rooms have been repainted. Rubberized flooring, similar to that in Ratner, was installed throughout the weight room. The roof of Henry Crown will also be renovated in the coming months.
Despite the new athletic facilities, some students maintain their loyalty to Henry Crown. Steve Zehring, a first-year in the College, said Ratner does not have any character. "Even though the weights [in Henry Crown] were squeaky and I'm afraid they might break, when I'm there I feel like I'm working out Rocky-style," he said. "It's rustic."
The University is still adding features to Ratner, including a stereo system, TVs, hot water, and a juice bar. It has only acquired some amenities after it opened: clocks, scales, shower curtains, and new locker room floors. Carey foresees small projects persisting at Ratner throughout the quarter.
Carey said that Ratner has drawn a good response from the community, and he hopes that the renovations at both facilities will make the overall student population more active. "We are trying to create an atmosphere that people want to come to," Carey said. "We want to attract a broad cross-section of people who come not only to work out but to meet and interact with other people."
Ratner is currently surveying students for the top-five genres of music to play on the stereo. Olu Rosanwo, a first-year in the College, has noticed a more diverse group is attracted to Ratner. "It's much more family-oriented than Crown," he said. "You see a lot of families with their kids running around. It's friendlier and smells better than Crown."
On the average day, Ratner welcomes about 1,300 people and Crown about 800 . However, since the holidays, a greater number of students and facultyarmed with New Year's resolutionshave trafficked the facilities bringing the numbers to 1,600-1,800 people at Ratner and 1,100 people at Crown on busy days.
While the athletic department is maintaining its focus on students, faculty, and staff, they plan to open the facilities to memberships from people outside of the University community this summer.