By Eric Thompson

They may be baby steps, but steps are indeed being taken towards a proposed “triple gym” project at Algonquin. After the idea was floated last year, a committee has been assembled to discuss possible ideas for the gym, including sending out an online student survey in March.

The survey will take into account what students would like to see in the new building; so far the only thing the committee has agreed upon is that it will have three gym floors and a track around the outside. Accommodating the students’ suggestions is contingent on the footprint of the building, as well as what funding is available.

“You want to get as many ideas that you can,” said Ron Port, director of athletic operations. “You don’t want to say no to any of the ideas right off the bat, but eventually your debt load and financial commitment will indicate whether or not we can handle all of this… The students in the end will tell us what they want because they are paying for it.”

The idea for the new gym was initially proposed by Port. The current gym hasn’t been upgraded since 1996, and with only one all-purpose court, teams are constantly being turned away.

“Having [the triple gym] would free up the gym we have now for more rec leagues and open gym time which is something that we’re lacking now,” said Annie Thomlinson, the SA’s manager of marketing and communication.

The bigger gym is necessary to accommodate the growing need for not only recreation time, but also academic time.

“The college wants academic programs in the gym, and we’re having to say no,” said Port. “We have academics in there from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. everyday and they’d like to go until 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. So a bigger facility would facilitate a lot more need. We’ve had this gymnasium since we were 8,500 students. We’re now almost double that.”

No timeline has been set for when the project may get under way, but the committee is optimistic that it will get done some day.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to get done,” said Port. “It may not get done in my tenure here. But it’s a good start and I think the students deserve it.”