Students at the Peabody Institute will no longer have to pay $50 a month at the local gym to stay in shape. They've just gotten their own campus fitness facility, thanks to a collaboration between Peabody and Homewood.
"Playing an instrument is a very physical thing," says Cynthia Marcus, a senior studying violin performance, "so people always tried to figure out ways to exercise. And now, here's a place that's close and readily available."
Centrally located in Leakin Hall, the facility was the "brainchild" of Joseph Brant, director of facilities and support services, according to Raymond Ou, coordinator of residential life and student activities.
When Brant came to Peabody four years ago, he was struck by the lack of an exercise facility. With only a bike and universal machine wedged into a small alcove of the dance room, students had few outlets for developing their physical endurance. He scoured the campus for a possible location. What he found was a document storage closet.
Then, last January, Homewood opened the O'Connor Recreation Center with a new array of fitness equipment, and Bill Harrington, director of recreational services, found himself with four stair masters, three bikes and two treadmills out of use. The equipment was still in good shape and only a few years old, so Harrington offered it to Peabody at a fraction of its estimated worth.
Brant pounced on the opportunity, and Ou raised funds for the purchase from the Johns Hopkins and Peabody alumni groups. Out went a wall and thousands of papers from the storage closet, and on came some cheerful yellow paint.
"Now [Peabody has] the amount of equipment we had for the whole Homewood campus," says Harrington, adding that Homewood has agreed to oversee future maintenance of the machines.
The new fitness facility shows Peabody's concern for its students' overall well-being as well as their academic performance, says Ou. "This says we want students to be well-rounded. We're looking after their mental and physical health."
The facility was dedicated on Oct. 7, with Peabody Director Bob Sirota and members of the Peabody and Johns Hopkins alumni councils on hand to check out the space and try the equipment.