UCOL Fitness Centre Role Fulfilled
The Whanganui UCOL Fitness Centre has fulfilled its purpose to assist sport and exercise students with their studies. The Fitness Centre was established as an educational gym almost twenty years ago and has enjoyed strong and positive links with the community.
Sport and exercise students are no longer dependant on the Whanganui UCOL Fitness Centre as part of their programme due to the introduction of new educational delivery modes using the internet. This makes it possible to have common educational delivery on all three UCOL campuses, including the educational components previously provided by access to the UCOL Fitness Centre, while avoiding expensive duplication.
Whanganui UCOL Principal Julia Pedley said: “This change has led us to the point where the UCOL Fitness Centre will have to operate under a commercial model rather than an educational one. Running commercial gyms is not UCOL’s area of expertise and unfortunately the Fitness Centre has been running at a loss financially which we can’t continue to sustain.
“We have looked at a range of options for the future including staff purchasing the Fitness Centre, another operator buying the Centre, and closure. Unfortunately it has come to the point where we have decided to close the Fitness Centre doors on 31 December this year. We have done all that we could, and kept the staff and the District Council updated of our attempts to find alternative options.”
“It is a difficult time for the eight staff as they have worked really hard to find workable options and to boost gym memberships. This decision is no reflection on the staff, they are dedicated to their work and are very experienced. They are understandably disappointed. We are working with staff regarding their future options.”
“We would also like to pay tribute to manager Christine Taylor who has worked hard to help the centre succeed.
“We are in the process of notifying members of the gym of the closure, and will automatically refund any pre-paid memberships. We have appreciated the support of gym members for our students and staff and know that they will also be disappointed to hear news of the closure. We are canvassing other gyms in the area to help find members alternative fitness options.”
Mrs Pedley said after staff members had been advised, UCOL has made every endeavour to notify members of the closure before it became public but media interest today means this may not have been achieved in all cases.
Students who study UCOL’s Certificate in Exercise and Sport Performance will continue to gain practical experience at other Fitness Centres in Whanganui.