As construction is under way on Gimbel Gymnasium in order to make room for the new $23 million Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, students and faculty have no other option but to use Hutchinson -- a facility that is in disrepair.

Following the journey to the outskirts of campus -- 33rd Street between Walnut and Spruce -- members are disappointed as they arrive at the once state-of-the-art athletic hub.

With no air conditioning workouts prove to be unbearable during summer months. The weight room, which was given a new floor in 1998, is in the basement where there is no ventilation. And in comparison to the number of machines in Gimbel, Hutch is severely under-equipped.

When Gimbel was renovated in '98-'99 no repairs were made to the crumbling Hutch facility. University officials, at the time, admitted that Hutch was inadequate, yet no renovations have been scheduled. While Gimbel members are forced to use it for the summer, the majority of Penn's athletes have to use the facility throughout the entire academic year. With quite possibly the best athletic department in the Ivy League don't we deserve an equally comparable gymnasium?

Despite students' repeated requests for an indoor track and better ventilation, Hutch has not been fixed since the new Pottruck Wrestling Complex was completed in October 1999 --- the only area that is not in ruins. In 1995, the University set aside $2.2 million to repair Weightman Hall, the Palestra, and Hutch. More than six years later those renovations have not been completed. Although fixing the old facility comes at a high cost, the University should have used some of the money that went into the 1998 Gimbel renovation.

Pottruck Fitness Center will not be completed until at least 2003, which means there will likely be times when fitness-minded students will have to make the trip to Hutch. With that in the mind, Penn has every reason to take this opportunity to fix up what was once and could be again a world-class athletic facility.

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