Lyon Center experiences multiple-machine breakdown


The Lyon Center, USC’s main gym for students, has become burdened with a growing number of broken machines — treadmills, ellipticals and StairMasters — inconveniencing gym patrons during their workouts, students said.

Break down · Visitors to the Lyon Center say about one-third of the equipment is broken, which the center attributes to an influx of students. - Hayden Bennett | Daily Trojan

When the Daily Trojan walked through the Lyon Center earlier this week, on the first floor of the Lyon Center four of the nine treadmills and one of the three StairMasters were out of order. In addition, six out of 13 televisions attached to the ellipticals did not function properly.

On the second floor, none of the StairMasters turned on. Thirteen or more televisions on 28 ellipticals didn’t work. Four treadmills had out-of-order signs.

In all, technical problems currently affect approximately one-third of the fitness machines at the Lyon Center as of Monday. This makes it difficult to find and exercise on a fitness machine at times, students said.

“There’s more waiting time. We’re all pressed for time,” said Christine Vaughn, a senior majoring in business administration. “I feel like the machines aren’t consistently fixed. I mean, they fix some and then another set breaks down.”

Some students also said broken machines have always been a problem at the Lyon Center.

“It’s gotten a little bit worse recently, especially with the TVs being broken on the machines,” said Michelle Gossman, a senior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention. “I don’t really know what they do to fix the problem, but it always seems to be a problem.”

Derek Lim, a freshman majoring in electrical engineering, said there were times when he simply couldn’t work out or had to find an alternative to the Lyon Center.

“It throws off the rhythm [of my workout],” he said.

Yet, according to Arvin Varma, assistant director of recreational sports, Lyon Center staff members say they have been responding to student complaints and problems.

“I think it’s under control,” Varma said. “You would not find more than two or three machines down.”

With a user base of more than 3,000 students, various machines do break down on a regular basis, but the staff at the Lyon Center are not always allowed to repair the machines themselves, Varma said.

“There are certain parts that we do not keep in stock, so we have to wait,” Varma said. “A lot of machines are under warranty, so we cannot touch and open them — it has to be the company.”

Varma attributed the current rise in broken machines to the return of students to campus, yet said he did not consider the broken machines to be a situation of concern.

“There will always be a few machines down at any time.  This is quite normal,” Varma said. “We didn’t have a lot of problems during the summer, but with students coming back, machines will break. But I think it’s under control.”

  • Ken

    The Lyon Center needs to be destroyed and rebuilt, end of story. The amount of workouts it gets per day and per month are way above what the place was built for. Additionally, the facility hasn’t been maintained as it should. Equipment breakdowns are common and they for some machines take months to repair. One of the stairmasters downstairs at Lyon Center was down all of summer. The same machines have had the same issues for months now.

    Additionally, most of the equipment in the facility looks like it at least 10 years old. The treadmills are a hodge-podge of brands bought 1 or 2 at a time. The outside maintenance company (Advantage Fitness Products) seems to be a joke or USC is just not reporting issues to them as they are the outside maintenance contractor. Either USC needs a new maintenance company or the administration of the Lyon Center is inept and everyone should be fired (also, as someone who goes to the Lyon Center almost everyday I’ve only seen one person from the administration walk through the actual workout areas once, shouldn’t they be checking what is going on more regularly?)

    USC should really consider outsourcing the facility to a corporate company to take over its operations such as 24 Hour Fitness or LA Fitness. While they may not be a perfect solution, they have the resources to keep equipment up and running.

    Also, who decided to buy the new monster flat/touch screens for the facility? That was the biggest waste of money. Instead of buying new flat benches, weights, stretching equipment, or something else they wasted money on flat screens that show useless information (like the one in the downstairs weight room in the middle that replays the same information every 2 minutes). This was a complete waste of money and squandering of resources that could have been better used elsewhere.

    Bottom line. The school needs a new facility that matches its needs, is run in a professional manner, and has either a certified in house maintenance staff (like corporate gym’s do, it’s not hard to send a person to a 3 day training seminar so they’re certified to do warranty work (I did it for the company I’m starting)) or a dedicated outside contractor who will get equipment back and running with 24 hours (as most companies such as StarTrac dictate)).

  • zman

    The ones in the galen center are a lot better. Lyon center should be destroyed. It’s old.

  • Taylor Smith

    For a private school USC’s gym is embarrassing. I toured many schools, and USC by far had one of the worst gyms. The University of Arizona’s gym was absolutely gorgeous. I think it is time for USC to build us a new gym with working equipment. This is far one of the worst gyms I have ever been to!!