For months now, the same red sign has greeted visitors at the front entrance desk of Pottruck Health and Fitness Center: “MPR Closed Until Further Notice.”
The Multi-Purpose Room at Pottruck, which contains a variety of exercise equipment, padded mat areas and punching bags, has been closed since the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year for reasons unknown to students.
According to Kevin Bonner, associate athletic director at Penn Recreation, the MPR was shut down in May for repairs to a flood-damaged floor.
“A flood caused by an air handler unit damaged the floor and sub-flooring,” Bonner, who declined to give an interview, said in an email statement. “Complicated and multi-layer repairs have been progressing since the summer.”
Bonner did not specify when the room would be open again, noting only that it would reopen “as soon as possible” and that “any amenities usually found in the Multi-Purpose Room can be found elsewhere in Pottruck.” However, this is not true for equipment such as the punching bags and padded mat areas that were exclusively found in the MPR.
Some students who had been regular visitors to the MPR found the temporary shutdown frustrating.
“I’m very salty it’s closed,” College junior Red Joseph said.
Joseph, who said he would visit the MPR around three times a week to use its punching bags, said that his biggest complaint with the MPR’s shutdown was the lack of information given to the public.
“Apparently the renovation was only supposed to be for a weekend or a month, but it’s gone on for three, four months,” he said. “I feel that at the very least they could be a bit more up to date about when it’s going to be open, and just be open and honest about it.”
Amenities like punching bags are not available in other places outside the MPR in Pottruck because “it was determined that there was not a safe space in Pottruck for punching bags,” according to Bonner. However, one was bought for the other gym on Penn’s campus, the Fox Fitness Center, after the MPR’s temporary closing.
Similarly to Joseph, Wharton and College sophomore Jeffery Gao said he had expected the MPR to be open by now.
“When I came back from summer vacation, I went to the MPR because I wanted to work out and the normal gym was too crowded,” Gao said. “I assumed they were renovating and they would bring it back soon, maybe a few weeks or a month. But now it’s November and I don’t know what’s going on in there.”
Joseph suggested that Penn Recreation update students more publicly and frequently about the MPR’s repair progress.
“I don’t appreciate the lack of information,” he said. “Even if it takes them a long time, I wish they’d provide more information about it.”