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Structural issues at Currie Centre prompt petition

A UNB PhD candidate is bringing his concerns about functional issues at the Currie Center to the university administration.

Travis Gerwing has launched an online petition imploring UNB administration to address ongoing issues between the third floor fitness centre and the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) located directly below it.

“The fitness centre offers a convenient avenue for staff and students to exercise and stay fit, while the HPL engages in cutting-edge research, teaching and crucial clinical assessments,” reads Gerwing’s petition.

“Unfortunately, the normal [activities] of a gym create vibrations which not only interfere with the equipment of the HPL, but fundamentally degrade the HPL’s ability to function.”

Gerwing goes on to state that past efforts to address the issue have included severely restricting the activities that can be conducted in the third floor fitness centre, along with stuffing patrons into a progressively smaller area.

He said this has essentially led to a lose-lose situation for all involved, one that must be addressed by administration in an effective and permanent way.

“It is unacceptable for the HPL to have their ability to conduct research, teach and perform clinical work compromised in this manner,” he said.

“Similarly, the gym is essential for the health and well-being of the entire university community. It is also unacceptable to restrict how patrons use this space, especially if they cannot seek a refund.”

In an emailed statement, UNB communications officer Natasha Ashfield said that, to date, “a lot of measures have been taken to accommodate everyone” at the Currie Center.

“There were a few recommendations provided to us before the building was open to make this space work for everyone. One of those recommendations was to work with a vibration expert who designed the gym floor and added pucks to dampen the vibrations. We also moved the weight room to a different location,” said Ashfield.

“Even after these measures, the sensitive research in the HPL was still slightly impacted in a small area of the fitness centre. As a result a ‘testing in progress’ light has been installed and members are asked to refrain from using that area when the light is on.”

But Gerwing is seeking a more sustainable solution from the administration.

“We’re only allowed to use a thin strip of that fitness centre for anything involving free weights [when the light is on]. When it’s very busy, if you get three or four people in this area, it represents 10 per cent of the floor space and it’s incredibly dangerous,” he said.

“As much as I appreciate finding a compromise, it seems to me this is one of those situations where a full-time solution needs to be [found].”

While Gerwing has already brought his concerns to the administration through Tuesdays with Tony, a weekly meet-and-greet program with UNB vice-president academic Tony Secco, he is hoping a petition filled with signatures will help further his cause.

“[The administration] stressed to me was that while my opinion is welcome, it’s more welcome if more people share my opinion,” he said

“I don’t want to champion a cause where only I’m interested but I do think this lab and this fitness centre [are] in such a world-class facility … [if] they’re both functioning at their full ability, both would be incredible assets.”

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