A new proposal plans to expand the East Gym by 75,000 square feet, bringing in new fitness and recreation spaces.

At a recent Binghamton University Council meeting it was announced that the East Gym renovation project has been designed. The Council, comprised of nine governor-appointed members and an elected student, typically meets once a month and supervises operations and regulations around BU. According to Karen Fennie, the communications specialist for Physical Facilities, this 75,000-square-foot addition would provide students with three new gym courts, FitSpace, a running track and associated auxiliary spaces.

Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2023 and be completed by fall 2025, although dates remain tentative until a contract is set for construction. According to Fennie, construction will not impact current East Gym functions, as there will be allotted space for gym goers to continue using the facilities.

“In general, the project was requested because existing facilities do not meet demand for campus recreation and fitness amenities,” Fennie wrote in an email. “Ultimately we hope the project will help address the demands for campus recreation/fitness space.”

Laura Cichostepski, the assistant director of marketing for Campus Recreational Services, acknowledged the necessity of having enough space to accommodate the welfare of students. She noted that as BU’s enrollment size has grown, it has resulted in an increase in demand for additional recreational and fitness space for students.

“This project is an investment in wellness infrastructure, and wellness is an important aspect of the student college experience,” Cichostepski wrote in an email. “Recreation promotes physical, emotional and social well-being, which supports successful learning.”

Cichostepski mentioned that this renovation would expand almost all areas of recreational programming, including fitness and wellness, open recreation and intramural sports.

“We’re excited about the new additions and the positive wellness impacts they will have on the campus community,” Cichostepski wrote.

According to BU Council and Fennie, the project will be campus-funded at first, and then submitted to the State University Construction fund for reimbursement through New York state’s capital program.

Lily Hawryluk, a freshman double-majoring in environmental studies and philosophy, expressed excitement about the added gym space.

“I’m so excited to hear about the new East Gym renovation because the state of the current gym can get very crowded and inefficient sometimes,” Hawryluk said. “There’s not a great range of workout equipment, like the lack of strength machines, so this new project sounds like it will bring some much-needed space.”

Yujin Lin, an undeclared freshman, expressed anticipation for the renovations, and explained how the East Gym has helped her stay fit.

“The East Gym has been one of the places where I can continue keeping an active lifestyle after arriving on campus,” Lin said. “I’ve been able to play a variety of activities with my friends, like basketball, volleyball and badminton.”

Lin added that the East Gym was a valuable resource, as students with their BU ID cards can access the gym and its equipment without an additional fee. Despite its benefits, she noted that the gym could get overcrowded many times.

“There are many times with there being a large amount of people, it would become very crowded and difficult to move around,” Lin said. “With the upcoming renovation, I wish to see a better gym area. Renovating the East Gym would allow more people to have their space there.”