Yates just got a little busier.

Starting this semester, varsity athletic weight training facilities moved from the second floor of McDonough Gymnasium to a former double’s tennis court in Yates Field House.

Concerns arose in recent months that the pounding of free-weights was causing structural damage to the 1950’s-era cDonough building and about whether the building could safely withstand the pressure. Structural evaluations are ongoing and administrators see the move as a temporary solution.

According to Bill Shapland, senior sports communications director, the undesirable situation where weight facilities were housed on the second floor of McDonough evolved over a period of a decade and a half.

McDonough Gymnasium originally had two balconies overlooking the basketball courts where spectators could observe games. In 1988, when then-Georgetown Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Thompson was tapped to coach the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team, one of the balconies was converted into a weight training room equipped with nautilus machines and air conditioning. Over time, free weights were added and the room became the principal weight-training facility for varsity athletic teams.

“It’s a very sturdy building,” Shapland said. “But whether it’s safe or not, it is not a good idea to have those weights up there.”

The varsity weight area will be open to limited use by any member of Yates who takes an instructional course. For those who complete the course, the weight area will be open during times when the area is not in use by varsity athletes and with supervision.

Shapland did not expect general enthusiasm toward the move.

“Everyone is reluctant to change so there will certainly be some unhappy people at least at the beginning,” he said, but the reaction has not been all negative.

Paul Detjen (COL ’06), a member of the Georgetown club rugby team, said he approved of the move.

“It’s cool that they got the weights over to Yates because the old facilities were lacking,” he said. “It’s a move toward making Yates a more realistic facility.”

There is no specific timeline for either the structural evaluation of McDonough or for a permanent varsity weight area, Shapland said, but the long term plan is to move the weights to the proposed Multi-Sport Facility, which is part of the Mid-Campus Project. According to http://www.guhoyas.com, $10 million of the necessary $22.5 million necessary for the project have already been raised.

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