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The new David S. Pottruck Health and Fitness Center opened yesterday. Amongst its many novelties, the center includes a rock-climbing wall. [Lauren Karp/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

The highly anticipated Pottruck Health and Fitness Center officially opened its doors yesterday morning, a semester ahead of its originally expected January date.

A venue for students to burn off their late night snacks, amongst other things, Pottruck was well-received on its opening day. Students clamored all day for spots on treadmills, bench presses and basketball hoops.

Much to the delight of Penn's student body, the new facility boasts an improved cardiovascular center, three full-length basketball courts, a new pool, improved locker rooms, an upgraded weight room and most importantly, at this time of the year, a central air conditioning system.

"It's definitely much better than Gimbel and [Hutchinson Gymnasium]," College sophomore Robert Estrin said. "There's no way I'm going to walk down to Hutch when this facility is right here."

After years of waiting in long and irksome lines just to jog on the treadmill, students can finally exercise whenever they feel the impulse.

Indeed, many hoped that Pottruck would eliminate the frustrating gap between arriving at the gym and actually getting an exercise machine.

And they found that Pottruck lived up to its billing in this regard.

"I did not have to wait on even one line for the first time since I got to Penn," College sophomore Danielle Cohen said.

Despite the generally positive reviews of the new facility, some students expressed discontent with the tuition increase which helped to finance the center.

"I don't think the burden of the renovations should be placed on the students," Wharton junior Ryan Weber said. "All students had to pay an extra [$200] whether they use the gym or not.

"The students who want to use the gym should pay for it."

But others disagreed with Weber, preferring to pay for the improved accommodations.

"This place is just awesome," College junior Sean Carey said. "I'm paying for quality so it doesn't bother me.

"What an upgrade from Gimbel!," he said.

Few students complained about their automatic memberships, the result of the tuition increase.

Penn's recreation facilities have long lagged behind those of other universities, but with the addition of Pottruck, the university finally has a fitness center that will silence the critics of Gimbel and Hutch.

And University students' physiques will surely benefit.

"I feel like this is a really good place for me to whale on my pecs," College junior Allan Aldeman said. "I can get a really good workout."

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