Duke has two recreational facilities. Why is one of them closed?

Every day, the Wilson Recreation Center is packed with students trying to work out after class. But on the eastern campus, the Brodie recreation center is closed and empty.

Recreation facilities manager Chris Policastro attributed Brodie’s closure to ongoing staff shortages and mentioned that Duke’s recreation facilities “have been working hard to rebuild themselves” since the start of the pandemic.

“We rely heavily on part-time staff to keep our facilities operational, and it takes time to hire and train people,” he wrote.

In the 2020-21 academic year, Wilson asked students to make reservations for workouts, while Brodie’s facilities were only used for COVID-19 testing. This year Wilson no longer requires students to book, but Brodie remains closed.

The university attributed Brodie’s continued shutdown to “COVID-19 restrictions and college regulations.”

Policastro wrote in an email that staff at Duke Recreation had attempted to reduce the volume of gym goers through the MyRec portal, which allows users to schedule group fitness classes and reserve water lanes at the advance. He also noted that gym attendance has historically declined after the first two weeks of the semester.

Freshmen, who all live on the east campus, have to travel to the west campus to use Wilson’s facilities, and many are disputing the commute time.

“I wish Brodie was open because exercise is such a big outlet for me, and I’m wasting a lot of time having to get to Wilson,” said freshman Natalia Roman.

Freshman Vibhav Nandagiri said that while he liked Wilson’s facilities, it would be more convenient for Brodie to be open.

“I hope it opens soon and that I can spend less time going to the gym and more time being there,” Nandagiri said.

Freshman Carson Carranza said he would feel more secure if Brodie was open. If both gyms were used, fewer people would compete to use machines, he said.

“When you’re at the gym, you sweat, you take off your mask to drink water, and you breathe hard. It’s not the safest environment to be in, especially during COVID, but you have to practice, ”he said.

The staff shortage has also affected other aspects of campus life, including catering.

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