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Ramskellar to Become Fitness Center in Fall

Facilities Will Begin Construction May 1; Fitness Center to Have Over 50 Cardio Machines, Spin Room


Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 02:04

Courtesy of Marco Valera

The Ramskellar, located in the basement of the McGinley Center, is set to become a fitness center; Facilities hopes to have the center open next semester.

In an effort to continue improving Fordham’s on-campus facilities, the University has decided to convert the Ramskellar, located in the basement of the McGinley Center, into a new fitness center for students.

“We’re looking to create an almost commercial-looking gym, like you’d see in New York City,” Marco Valera, vice president of facilities, said.

This gym will not replace the one currently located in the Lombardi Center. The new gym will be used in addition to the existing facilities on campus and will offer students a variety of work-out options.

“Athletics is going to monitor the use of both facilities over time,” Valera said.

The renovations are expected to begin on May 1. The first step of the process will include removing all the current furniture. Then, the facilities staff will begin gutting the current space. One of the most important issues the staff must address is improving the air circulation in the Ramskellar; they are planning to add new air conditioning units. They also have to work with the electrical and plumbing systems.

“We’re pushing for opening by the fall semester, which is a very tight schedule,” Valera said. “But that’s our goal.”

The Ramskellar is much larger than the current gym in the Lombardi Center. It’s approximately 9,000 square feet, which will allow Fordham to at least double the amount of space students have to work on their health and wellness. The office of Facilities Management will also have the ability for some expansion if they need to in the upcoming years.

The gym’s new facilities will include a variety of more than 50 state-of-the-art Cybex cardio machines and approximately 20 fixed Cybex stations located around the gym. There will also be a new multi-purpose room that can be used as a yoga and dance studio.

“Currently we’re sharing a space [for yoga and dance] in Keating and this [expansion] will really provide the recreation folks’ ability to have many more classes,” Valera said.

The new gym will also include more space for free weights that students can use, as well as another room dedicated to over 25 spin bikes.

“The team thought that spinning was a very popular class, and so a space was created to host spinning classes.” Valera said.

This gym will also have cubbyholes in which students can safely place their belongings while they work out. It will be a fully staffed facility with greeters and receptionists.

For the most part, students are happy about the plans to expand the fitness facilities.

“I’m glad that Fordham wants to expand their gym, because the current one is a little small,” Elizabeth Hughes, GSB ’15 said, “But I feel that the placement of the new gym is a little weird.”

This is not the first change the Ramskellar has undergone over the years. According to The Ram (V. 92, i. 19), the Ramskellar used to be used as a hangout spot for students in the ’70s and ’80s to “grab a beer and watch the game.”

"The ‘Skellar was particularly popular on Thursday nights, which used to be movie night in Keating First," one alumnus, the father of a Fordham senior, said (V. 92, i. 19). "Can't tell you how many times we stopped in for a pitcher before the 8 p.m. movie, only to decide three pitchers later that we were going to the 10:30 show."

It also was, and still is, sometimes used as a place for entertainers to perform. In the earlier years, this included many well-known performers like Steve Martin when he began his career.

Currently the Ramskellar is used as a free-space location, where students can eat their Dagger John’s to-go lunches or hang out with their friends. It is available for clubs and organizations to rent out for events, like Campus Activities Board’s Bingo.  The Ramskellar is also used currently used as an “events center” to host large amounts of people, such as the lunch reception area for Admitted Students Day or Senior Nights. This causes some to wonder what Fordham will do without the current Ramskellar.

Valera said that the staff listened to these concerns but after, canvassing the entire campus, they believe this was the most beneficial space available.

“This space had very little usage over time, and so we did a survey of all space on campus to locate a facility this size, and there were very few locations, frankly,” he said. “This one really stood out as the one location that would meet the full program that we’d like to have.”

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