After a year of delays, the new university gym has run out of all gym and swim memberships

Written by Branwen Onono
History Undergrad

The University of Birmingham has spent £55 million on its highly anticipated new sports centre. The UoB Sport and Fitness Centre opened on the 22nd of May 2017 after a year of delay, ready for the 2017 autumn term. The Sport and Fitness Centre boasts state of the art facilities such as a 50-metre swimming pool, a climbing wall, and a dojo; however, by the end of the first week of term the new gym has run out of both student and general memberships. Those yet to join have been left with the choice of either squash membership (starting at £90), pool membership (starting at £75), or having to pay per go for classes and sessions, which could quickly become a costly habit.

One second year student says, ‘I am disappointed the University didn’t design a building capable of meeting the needs of its community, it seems ridiculously short-sighted to have built a centre that is not capable of accommodating more people’.

However, it is not completely unreasonable that the centre cannot cater to each student at the university. As the university’s student body is made up of over 33,000 students, including postgraduate researchers, it would be near impossible for one building to have the capacity to host such a high number of people.

Students have also been prioritised by the new Fitness Centre, with 69% of memberships there being held by UoB students. When contacted, the centre stated that they are ‘looking into expanding programmes’, and the shortage of available memberships was tied to the fact that ‘there are three times as many students now using the gym compared to this time last year’.

Alternatives to the sports and fitness centre do exist locally. Tiverton Pool, is located in the heart of Selly Oak, and for £6 a year, local residents can benefit from free daily gym and pool sessions as part of Birmingham Council’s Passport to Leisure scheme. For first years living on the Vale, a nearby Pure gym offers 9-month student memberships for the equivalent of £12.75 monthly. Furthermore, the Guild of Students hosts a range of sports societies from Gaelic football, to Muay Thai boxing. The inability to get a membership at the sports centre may be disappointing to many, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for those looking to improve their fitness.