The Lyon Center, which was originally built in the 1980s, has been undergoing renovations this summer and is scheduled to reopen all of its facilities in early August, well before move-in day.
Michael Munson, the associate director of facilities at the Lyon Center, said that this remodel would reflect many external changes that fitness centers have introduced in the past few decades.
“The building is 30 years old, and needed some [updates],” Munson said. “The design in the ’80s was very compartmentalized, and now the style is more open.”
The construction is progressing rapidly, with demolition almost done and structural framing currently taking place. The lobby area will feature a glass divider from the main gym as opposed to an opaque wall, in order to create the feeling of a more open space. The gym equipment, which will include new strength machines, cardio machines and fitness accessories, is scheduled to arrive during the first week of August, according to Munson.
The squash courts and racquetball courts are also a primary point of focus. Justine Gilman, the senior director of recreational sports facilities, stated that the updates would also incorporate a system in which students will be able to swipe themselves into the center, in order to improve workflow and efficiency.
In the past, the Lyon Center has faced some pressure from student groups to improve the facilities. A few years ago, a Facebook group called “Revamp Lyon Center” was created and since then, students have been consistently pushing for an upgraded fitness center and gym.
“I’m really excited,” said Shaina Wottitz, a rising junior majoring in communication. “I work out there a lot, and I think that the place definitely needed some fixing up.”
Along with the new equipment and updated facilities, the auxiliary gym, which previously existed on the second floor of the building, will no longer be in service. According to Gilman, this space will be utilized as a practice room for the Trojan Marching Band. Gilman stated that this change, along with the introduction of a fitness center at the upcoming USC Village, gave the administration a chance to look at how they can provide other recreational facilities to students.
The fitness center at the USC Village, which is currently scheduled to open in mid-July, is a 30,000 square-foot project with 100 machines for cardiovascular exercise and 75 machines dedicated to weights.
“The renovations at the Lyon Center will bring us on somewhat of an equal footing with the brand-new USC Village,” Munson said.
According to Munson, the administrative team at the Lyon Center is also hoping to expand on the F-45 classes. F-45, a high intensity interval training class with approximately 3,000 different exercises, is popular among students. This remodel will include an extension of the group exercise studio in the hopes that more students will be able to participate in the F-45 classes.
In addition, some equipment from the auxiliary gym will be moved to Court A in the basketball gym on the second floor. Munson stated that the administration is willing to get some feedback from students about this change.
“Moving the equipment to Court A is kind of a one-year experiment,” he said. “We want to see if students want that space for equipment and cardio, or whether they want it for multifunctional court, for example.”
Currently, the Lyon Center has its pool and main gym open to students, but only a few cardio and weight machines. Summer hours are also significantly shorter; during the academic year, the Lyon Center is open for 116 hours a week, compared to 82 hours a week during the summer.
Shradha Jain, a rising junior majoring in business administration who is living at USC this summer, said that she has felt the effects of this sudden adjustment and it has infringed on her normal workout routine.
“The [hours] are so much shorter now, and this can be inconvenient,” Jain said. “I got really used to following a schedule, and not being able to follow it anymore changed my routine.”
Though the hours and equipment are limited this summer, Munson said the Lyon Center staff is trying their best to help students.
“We’ve been trying as much as we can to give some options for people to work out over the summer,” Munson said. “Our other option was to shut everything down.”
While the Lyon Center will close its doors to students between July 15 and early August, the fitness center at the USC Village will be available for use beginning July 17.