Sunday, September 26, 2021

IM West reopening, prioritizing member safety

October 26, 2020
IM West on Oct. 26, 2020. The Gym is briefly reoppening to students until Thanksgiving.
IM West on Oct. 26, 2020. The Gym is briefly reoppening to students until Thanksgiving. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Michigan State University’s IM Sports West Recreational and Fitness facility announced that it would open back up Monday, Oct. 26. COVID-19 procedures have been implemented to maintain the safety and well-being of the staff and students.

According to the Recreational Sports and Fitness Services website, mandatory safety measures include a health screening, cleaning and disinfecting, no access to locker rooms temporarily and requires masks as suggested by the CDC. IM West also has a new airPHX system, a proprietary technology that generates oxidizing molecules from ambient air. The oxidizing molecules eradicate pathogens at a cellular level, including the coronavirus.

History education junior and IM West employee John Creal said that he’s expecting the first couple weeks to be slow given that Crunch and Powerhouse Gym, two local East Lansing gyms, opened up several months before IM West.

“I know people are taking advantage of those [Crunch and Powerhouse Gym],” said Creal. “Even my boss said he’d be ecstatic if we reached max capacity.”

However, kinesiology junior Ashley Spitzbarth, an indoor cycle instructor, is anticipating members returning to IM West pumped up and ready to go. She has an Instagram account where she interacts with 30 to 35 girls, posing the question via poll of who would be interested in returning to IM West for indoor cycling classes.

“Ninety percent of the people on their [the poll] said that they were going to be coming back,” said Spitzbarth. “And recently, when the gyms started opening back, I’ve had people contact me and say, ‘Hey when are the gyms [MSU recreational sports and fitness facilities] open?’ So, people are eager to get back into the gym, eager to hop back on the bike and get back into the routine.”

Along with mandatory mask-wearing and health screenings upon entering the building, physical distance must be maintained while in the fitness center. Additionally, there will be one swimmer per lane for lap swim, and group cycling will be moved to the turf field where each bike will sit 10 feet apart from another. IM sports and other recreational activities will remain unavailable until further notice.

Spitzbarth said that even before the pandemic, IM West took sanitation very seriously and used antibacterial wipes to clean the bikes before and after the cycle classes to ensure the participant’s health.

Creal and Spitzbarth said they are very confident in how well-kept and safe IM West will be once reopened.

Dujaun Wiley, Coordinator for IM Sports West, has worked very hard to reopen the facility, according to Spitzbarth.

“The amount of work he put into cleaning everything and reconstructing everything, making sure that everything is within the guidelines of what we have created – it’s going to be a very safe environment to head back into,” said Spitzbarth.

“We are definitely going to keep working hard and try to keep everyone safe and feeling comfortable while there,” said Creal.

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