The University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Sport and Exercise (CSE) has unveiled major renovations to its Cardio gym in a bid to improve efficiency and convenience and propel its standing continent-wide.
The £500,000 upgrades include 102 new Precor machines from the company’s latest line of bikes, treadmills and cross trainers.
Hailing from the “Next-Generation Experience” series, the machines boast more accurate foot sensors, better energy efficiency, and access to a new cloud service to synchronise workout data online.
Accompanying the instalments is a revamped room layout intended to create a more streamlined user experience.
The improvements, which brought the total number of machines to 145, reportedly constitute the largest single-site Precor installation in Europe, and count the university as among the first to utilise the new products.
University officials were elated.
“The University’s commitment to providing first rate facilities and equipment has never been greater,” CSE Head of Operations Cameron Ritchie told The Student.
“We’re thrilled,” Director of Sport and Exercise Jim Aitken added.
The investment follows a “detailed study” of the previous machines by GYMetrix, an independent consultant company commissioned by the university last spring, according to Ritchie.
The study combined usage statistics and 300 face to face interviews with members to shape its conclusion.
“With circa 16,000 CSE members, the equipment takes a lot of punishment with Precor engineers reporting record levels of usage,” Ritchie explained to The Student.
He continued: “We’ve not only managed to create better flow and space, but have also increased the number of machines.”
The improvements were met with generally positive reactions from students and staff.
Ritchie cited a “hugely positive” feedback from long serving members and a surge in support on the centre’s Facebook page.
Rhona Auckland, University of Edinburgh fourth year student and European U-23 cross country champion, who helped launch the machines at a ceremony earlier this month, praised the developments.
“I think it’s a fantastic investment and really highlights the university’s commitment to sport, for everyone, not just performance,” she told The Student.
Interviews with other gym patrons confirmed a broadly favourable, if indifferent, reaction from other members.
“They’re really nice; they’re very personalised,” said Filip Wymeersch, a University staff member.
“It’s a really social place and I like the fact they’re all placed next to each other,” he added.
“It’s definitely a much better use of space,” Malcolm Leesk, shift leader at the gym, told The Student.
“The layout’s just better in general,” agreed a novice rower who declined to be identified.
“The TV screens work, so that’s a bonus,” one third year student named
Lauren commented. “I heard they’re quite expensive,” she added.
One avid cyclist, who declined to be identified, said: “There are a lot more machines, but they changed the ratio between the treadmills and the bikes,” he said. “I use the bikes a lot for road training, so I’m a bit disappointed there aren’t more of them.”
Other users were less perceptive. “I didn’t notice them,” first year Callum Jackson confessed. “It looks the same. Same stuff. There’s just more of them.”
“That’s pretty much it,” he concluded.