Starting this semester, the Lyon Center has extended its hours until midnight and plans to do major renovations to its facilities in the coming months.
Students have been asking for longer hours, said Jennifer Siu, associate director of recreational sports. Although some wanted the center to remain open until 2 a.m., or even for 24 hours, visitors can now exercise until midnight every day of the week. It used to close at 11 p.m. on most days.
“Hours have changed hopefully to meet the needs of the students,” Siu said.
The Lyon Center also wants to change hours on days with USC football games to accommodate all students — especially those who are not attending games — by not closing the center three hours before the game begins, as the center has typically done.
But aside from the hours, there are several other changes at the Lyon Center.
To keep students informed with recreational news, students can now sign up for a weekly recreational newsletter that includes changes to facilities, upcoming registration deadlines and workout schedules. Several new flatscreen televisions can also be found throughout the center in areas such as the lobby and first floor hallways in order to increase entertainment value and communication, Siu said.
The new televisions provide places for displaying recreational news, workout schedules and Lyon Center announcements, in addition to flatscreens for live television channels.
“We can’t make the building bigger, but we can try to make it nicer,” Siu said.
The center plans — though with no specific timeline — to replace carpets, redesign locker rooms and generally update the building.
Since the university built the Lyon Center in 1989, the center now serves about three times the amount of visitors, said Nehi Ogbevoen, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government. As a result, student leaders are exploring ways to improve the facility.
“We’re trying to get an idea of exactly what USC is lacking,” Ogbevoen said. “There are talks about adding some rec center space.”
Ogbevoen and USG President Chris Cheng have been meeting with the office of Student Affairs to identify what changes are needed in the Lyon Center. This summer, Ogbevoen and Cheng visited CSU Fullerton to get ideas about exercise spaces at other universities.
“There was just more space [than in the Lyon Center.] You can tell that they designed the building for the students,” Ogbevoen said.
However, the main challenge for recreational sports is funding. The Lyon Center can only make changes within its own building, because another facility is not available as of now, unless a large donation is made specifically to its department, Siu said.
“We serve more of the students, but athletics brings in more of the money,” Siu said.
The athletic department plans to build a new athletic facility for varsity athletes on the current intramural field, located behind Heritage Hall. This new building would leave some intramural sports, such as ultimate frisbee and soccer, without a practice field.
One idea to accommodate intramural and club teams is to allow sports teams to practice in the Galen Center. However, Siu said the move will only work if the Galen Center provides teams with good practice times, storage space and access for both students and staff.
“Intramurals and clubs get at the bottom,” Siu said. “Everything changes based on the space that we’re given.”