New Fitness Center Renovations Please Athletes, Students


Katherine Merisotis/The Bates Student

The new and renovated fitness center has impressed many athletes and gym-goers.

Over the course of this last summer, Bates Athletics completed four facility enhancement projects, intended to give students as well as student athletes a superior athletic experience to the one they have grown accustomed to. 

A renovated Davis Fitness Center, as well as new locker rooms for the varsity football and lacrosse teams, can be found in Underhill arena. The historic Grey Cage has gotten new Mondo Floors and the tennis team has access to state-of-the-art AI-driven video analytics in the Wallach Tennis Center. The upgrades come as a result of generous donations from Bates alumni, as well as the administration’s desire to give the student athletes more opportunities to have the best experience possible while competing at Bates. 

New equipment in Merrill has been readily used by Bates students. (Katherine Merisotis/The Bates Student)

The most important part of these upgrades is the improved student experience, so when asked about the new upgrades to the facilities, plenty of student athletes, as well as frequent gym-goers, shared their thoughts and experiences.

Sophomores Emma Volkers and Molly Griffin, both members of the field hockey team, shared the same sentiment that the old gym setup was extremely limiting and at times not optimal for improving athletic performance. They also noted that the timing of the upgrades was key, as many Bates students are getting ready to compete in athletic seasons this year after what was a scratch of a year in 2020. 

Cole De Magistris ‘24, a member of the football team, is enjoying the new space in the Davis Fitness center. He is most appreciative of the gym’s multiple dedicated sections for “all types of workouts, including those for speed and agility.” 

Park Penrod ’24, also on the football team, is hopeful the improvements in the athletic facilities will encourage more students in general around campus to exercise and facilitate an overall healthy lifestyle on campus. 

There is ample room for teams and students to work out in the Davis Fitness Center. (Katherine Merisotis/The Bates Student)

One sentiment that was echoed by most of the interviewed student athletes was that although the upgrades are very much appreciated and needed, the Davis Center, in particular, is far too hot sometimes and the lack of air conditioning makes it harder to grip weights and oftentimes require one to leave the gym for a moment to get cooler air outside. 

Overall, the student reception seems to be a positive one when it comes to the upgrades that took place over the summer, especially the Davis Fitness Center. Over time, more takes from the students on the other upgrades will come in as they become more used due to circumstances as well as sports that are out of season begin to compete. 

Athletic Director Jason Fein had a huge part in facilitating and allocating resources to the new upgrades around campus.

 “Every year, we go into the year trying to figure out how we can improve the student athlete experience in general,” he said, “A benefit from COVID-19 [is that we] saved some money that would usually be spent on other things.”

He was excited to see the new students in the Davis Center and even got in a few workouts of his own a couple of mornings. The biggest sentiment that Fein wanted to echo was just the overall pride it brought him to see not only the students taking advantage of the new facilities, but also just seeing the Bobcats compete after a year where most of the teams did not due to the worldwide pandemic. 

It seems that the administration as a whole has a sense of optimism on the outlook of Bobcats Athletics, and these new upgrades exemplify that sentiment.