After 18 months, Palisano fitness center to open

The million-dollar fitness center in Palisano Pavilion is set to open nearly 18 months after it was first announced, with some special COVID-19 guidelines for students to follow such as an app to reserve workout times.

The fitness center in Palisano Pavilion is now named the Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center. (Photo by Mike Pesarchick)

After months in the making, the long-awaited Palisano Fitness Center will open its doors on Monday, Oct. 5 to students. 

To access this new facility students will need to download an app called Mindbody to sign up for a time slot to utilize the new space. Rich Kennedy, the assistant director of Student Life, advised students who sign up to make sure to sign up with their Canisius Gmail account and to not use my.canisius.edu, but rather canisius.edu. Each student will be provided with one pass per day to use the space.

“This is a long-awaited day for Canisius students. I’m thrilled to see this beautiful new fitness center open so that our students have a place to work out and stay healthy,” President John J. Hurley said. He first announced plans for the facility in March 2019.

“The social distancing requirements impact our use of the center, but I’m confident that our Canisius students will do whatever is necessary to abide by the restrictions and keep this important student gathering place open.”

The new facility is equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines, a free weight section and an olympic lifting section from G&G Fitness Equipment. 

Equipment was supplied by G&G Fitness, owned by the Gronkowski family. (Mike Pesarchick, The Griffin).
State-of-the-art weight machines await Canisius students. (Mike Pesarchick/The Griffin).

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie County gave approval for around 24 people to be in the facility based on the square footage of the space, but Palisano will start with 16 people per hour sessions that students can sign up for via the Mindbody app. 

Each session is going to be 55 minutes long and there will be 10 sessions per day Monday to Friday, so the facility can accommodate 160 people per day. On the weekends, there will be fewer sessions available that will start later in the day.

Students will check in at this desk before working out. (Mike Pesarchick/The Griffin).

Also, to stay in accordance with New York State regulations, machines available for use will be six feet apart and students are required to wear masks while using the facility. 

In addition, all the equipment must be wiped down after use with the Purell wipes provided throughout the fitness center. Those working the front desk of the gym will also help to maintain the cleanliness of the gym equipment during the 15 minute intervals between the sessions along with facilities as they are required by state guidelines to clean every two hours.

Assistant Director of Athletic Facilities Tom Seil said the facility was delayed to open because they were waiting on guidance from New York State due to COVID-19 and then had to formulate a plan to meet these new guidelines. 

Now, the new fitness center is equipped with the proper ventilation systems and has ground air purification systems to be in compliance with Erie County guidelines.

The center is equipped with an HVAC system and additional air purification machines to meet COVID-19 guidelines. (Mike Pesarchick/The Griffin).

Seil along with Director of Athletic Facilities Pat Clarke will oversee the day-to-day operations of Palisano.

Changing rooms and lockers will be provided. (Mike Pesarchick/The Griffin).
The fitness center under construction last spring. (Mike Pesarchick/The Griffin).

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