Working out the kinks in the ARC

Five to ten percent of machines are typically broken in any athletics facility, says Herbert Steacy, associate director of facilities and business development for Athletics and Recreation

Currently there are three broken ellipticals and two broken treadmills in the ARC. National Fitness Products staff member James Hunter assesses the condition of an elliptical.
Currently there are three broken ellipticals and two broken treadmills in the ARC. National Fitness Products staff member James Hunter assesses the condition of an elliptical.
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Emilie Breuvart, ArtSci ’13, is used to waiting in lines to use machines at the ARC.

“It’s frustrating to get there, see machines aren’t working and then wait in long lines,” she said, adding that she goes to the ARC on average three times a week and uses the elliptical and treadmill machines.

“I used to go around 4:30 [p.m.], but it was really busy then. I usually go around lunch, because there’s less people,” she said.

While only some machines are fully broken, other machines keep people away because of technical issues, she said.

“Maybe there are a few that are broken. Many times the machine works fine but the TV doesn’t, so people won’t use that machine because they want one with a working TV,” she said.

Herbert Steacy, associate director of facilities and business development for Athletics and Recreation, said that upkeep and repairs are always needed.

“Five to 10 per cent of equipment will always be down in any athletic facility,” he said, adding that out of 56 treadmills and ellipticals only about five are currently marked as out of order.

Steacy said that while he hasn’t noticed any large increases in broken machinery, higher traffic can increase the incidence of out of order machines.

Over the month of January this year, there were a recorded 74,611 visits to the ARC. This compares to 12,454 visits in October 2010.

“From 11 a.m. to about 1:30 [p.m.] is our peak time. From 3:30 to 8 [p.m.], we’re also jammed,” he said. “This is such a popular spot, so it puts more pressure on the equipment.”

The machines in the ARC are meant to last 104,607 km and some have already hit 57,936 km of use.

Besides treadmills and elliptical the ARC has stationary bikes, weight machines and other pieces of equipment.

Prior to the ARC opening in December 2009, just under 1 million worth of equipment was purchased, Steacy said. This year $100,000 more was contributed towards machines. Depending on the machine, each one was purchased from anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000.

“In our original agreement with suppliers we have a three year warranty, so most of the repair work is being done under that,” he said.

The ARC is putting self-generated funds, from things like external memberships, into a reserve account so they’ll be able to purchase new machines when the warranty runs out.

Every week, suppliers come in to see if the machines need repairs, Steacy said, adding that National Fitness and AC/DC are the suppliers who are responsible for this maintenance work.

Steacy said the nature of the problem determines how long it takes for machines to be fixed.

“If parts are on hand, the machine can be fixed that day,” he said. “If we’re missing a part for two to three weeks, it may appear we’re neglecting the machines, but we’re not.”

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