BY KELBY CLARK
County College of Morris is one New Jersey college that boasts several facilities that help make it an advanced learning community that enhances student life. From the Madeline D. and Joseph J. Longo Planetarium to Dragonetti Auditorium, CCM provides its students with many facilities in the hope that they are constantly “connecting learning and life,” according to CCM.edu.
However, when students began attending classes this fall semester many were dismayed to find that the Health and Physical Education building, one of the most frequented campus facilities by CCM athletes, fitness enthusiasts and exercise science majors, is closed due to renovations.
All recreational facilities in the building, including the aquatic facility, fitness center, weight room, dance studio, main gymnasium and locker rooms, have been unavailable to students and faculty since June, according to Karen VanDerhoof, vice president for business and finance at the college.
The most significant work being completed in the building is the replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The aquatic facility is also undergoing significant renovations. The pool was drained, acid washed and spot re-grouted, had cracks and crevices in masonry filled, all over the summer. Other renovations include the replacement of the exterior doors on the second floor and the installation of a new vestibule in the main entrance that will “enhance exit width, reliability and HVAC efficiency,” VanDerhoof said.
“The upgrades will increase overall energy efficiencies and reliability,” VanDerhoof said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during the critical infrastructure upgrades to the HPE building.”
Although the college administration is attempting to keep campus facilities running efficiently and effectively, the temporary shutdown of the Health and Physical Education building is having an adverse effect on many students and faculty members.
Classes usually held in the building have been scattered to various locations including the Randolph YMCA, PowerZone Volleyball Center in Denville and the Dalrymple House, according to VanDerhoof.
Students like biology major David Akpatsu, who normally exercised or participated in the many recreational activities offered in the building, have been forced to seek membership at other fitness centers.
“I used to go to the gym a lot, mostly the basketball court and occasionally to the weight room,” Akpatsu said. “It’s an inconvenience. I signed up at LA Fitness.”
Other students, like criminal justice major Breona Malcolm, said the closure is affecting their work study.
“I worked at the gym, at the front desk. My job was to check student IDs for validation, check the monitors, where the camera was in the weight room and set up the gym for classes,” Malcolm said. “This reconstruction is definitely a setback for myself because I’m used to working . . . and earning a paycheck every two weeks. I like to work more instead of not working at all.”
Although a number of students are still frustrated by the closure, the Health and Physical Education Building is set to re-open toward the end of September. At least students will soon have the opportunity to shed all the pounds that they gain over the fast approaching holiday season.