The start of the school year debuted Paly’s much-anticipated Peery Family Center, the new gym. The 92,000 square foot center features two courts, a weight room, several team rooms, a dance room, an aerobics room and much more.

While the highly-awaited gym has opened its doors, it still remains largely off-limits to the majority of students and teachers. The gymnasium is an asset to the campus, and The Campanile thinks that the facility should be available to more than just school athletes and physical education students.

The Campanile thinks that the facility should be available to more than just school athletes and physical education students.

We acknowledge the weight room is available to all students after school, but the use remains modest due to poor publicity.   Additionally, this is the only facility open for student use which is restricted to just after school hours.

During school hours, the weight room is often busy or locked, making it difficult for students to work out during their free periods or lunchtime. The dance room, aerobics room, courts and other premises are restricted to use by athletes and physical education students only.

From an administrative standpoint, giving total access to students is extremely unrealistic. With 16 entrances and dozens of rooms, the administration cannot hire enough staff for full supervision, but they say they would like to maximize student use. Assistant Principal of Operations Jerry Berkson has said that student access will be increased incrementally as the years progress, using trial and error.

While we agree that it would be too large of a liability to allow full access to the swimming pool to students, there should be a more liberal access to other areas, such as the courts and dance studio.

The Media Arts Center can serve as an example of how a costly new facility built to cater to the needs of a specific program can be open to the full student body. While the facility hosts only journalism and other media and English classes, it is open to the rest of the school population and it often serves as a great hangout spot to socialize or get work done. The center also accommodates community events on certain occasions. The facility has proved to be more useful than just housing for a single program, becoming a focal point for creativity and socialization at Paly. The Media Arts Center’s precedent should be considered when figuring out how to open the new gym up to students.

The Campanile proposes that the school create some variety of a student pass that would allow students to freely use the majority of the facilities, such as the basketball courts, the aerobic room, the dance room and similar facilities that  require minimal supervision. Students should have the opportunity to not only see the interior of the gym, but also to actually use it as well.

A multimillion dollar facility is a superb asset to the campus, especially when it is topped off with state-of-the-art equipment. Yet, when it is only being used by a minority of the school population, it is not being used to its full potential. Measures should be taken by administration to increase student usage of the gym, and to publicize the facilities currently available to students.

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