By Peri Lindh, Contributing Writer
Along with the other recent renovations to the Gables of University of New Hampshire, Gabe’s convenience store has made its way out, and a new fitness room is on its way in for the students to use this in October.
The Gables underwent a handful of significant renovations this past summer, including new kitchens with stainless steel appliances, new carpeting and furniture in the living area and completely new bathrooms. UNH Housing made the collective decision last year to revamp the place in attempts to better the Gables community for future residents.
With these changes came the removal of Gabe’s. The space in the north building is currently being renovated to become a fitness class area. After deliberation and discussion, the dining department announced the closing of Gabe’s at the end of last semester due to its financial performance over the last three years.
“That property was not able to generate enough sales and contribution to cover the overhead assigned rent, resulting in a financial drain to the dining program,” Director of Dining Services Jon Plodzik said.
During the summer months, UNH Housing considered several possibilities for use of the space. To find which option students would favor most, the housing department sent out a brief survey to all incoming residents.
According to Gables Complex Coordinator Victoria Wilson, hundreds of opinions were solicited. Results showed a majority was in favor of fitness classes as an addition to the complex.
“We have been working with our housing team and a phenomenal contracting company, the same that did all of the Gables renovations this summer, to convert the space for such a use,” Wilson said.
The upcoming fitness space will be offering classes such as yoga, Zumba, Pilates, aerobics and more. Floor plans also include a small lounge area with couches, stools and tables. When classes are not in session, students will be able to use the space for personal fitness interests as well as a “Fitness on Demand” option available on future installed televisions.
“Because the survey results indicated this is something residents are exited for, the main outcome we hope to see is an increase in the attendance of community events and programs,” Wilson said.
Wilson hopes that this will give the students “an additional outlet to not only reach their healthy living goals, but offering a chance to meet new people and generally enjoy life here.”
With fitness space available at the Gables, residents will be able to get the exercise they want right in that location instead of having to go to the Rec Center. Wilson hopes to see this this “alleviate some of the crowding at the [Whittemore Center].”
Resident Courtney Heroux, of Gables B tower, is looking forward to the new fitness space and “can’t wait to try it out.” She said she hopes to continue the yoga she started in the summer.
“The classes at the Whitt don’t always work with my schedule,” Heroux said.
Heroux said she’s excited to not have to take the bus or walk far in the winter to get the exercise she wants.
According to Wilson, a newsletter will be released to residents next month with an update on the renovated area.
“A lot of thoughtful planning has gone into the design and space,” she said. “We want the residents to get psyched for the anticipated first class.”