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The school plans to replace key operated lockers with new units that charge 25 cents this year.
Amy Badry/the Gauntlet

Fitness lockers swap keys for coins

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University of Calgary fitness facility users will be switching their keys for cash when the school replaces its current lockers with new change operated units later this year.

Faculty of kinesiology director of communications Don McSwiney said that the switch is mainly to speed up the process and allow fitness staff to do other work.

"People have to wait in line too much to get a locker," said McSwiney. "You get a line for keys, you get a line for people waiting for locks to be brought back and there's a third line of people returning it. At the same time you have the staff giving out towels and doing all those other things, so we wanted to get rid of these lineups for people because it's a waste of time."

"I was apprehensive at first," said Students' Union kinesiology representative Adam Wasylyshyn. "One of my main concerns is that the campus is active and that wellness is supported and putting a charge on wellness doesn't really seem that intuitive to me."

Wasylyshyn believes that despite the 25 cent charge, the change will ultimately increase the access of the facilities by decreasing wait times.

Last year fitness staff handed out close to 125,000 keys, about 10,417 a month, an amount reflected in long lineups outside the change rooms.

Currently the change rooms hold 160 lockers, this number will increase to 300.

Wasylyshyn explained that the goal of the charge is not to bring in any more money for the school but it would eventually save them money over two years through not having staff tied up distributing keys.

The school hopes that the fee will discourage both long lineups and free up a number of lockers.

"People were using these as just lockers," said McSwiney. "They would come and get a lock in the morning they'd stick all their stuff in there and then they would go to classes."

"They were using them as multi-use lockers and clearly our intention is to have lockers available so when people come to work out, they can work out."

McSwiney also toted crime prevention as a benefit of the new units.

"Just having a padlock on the door, we found that there's problems with thefts as a result of that. People can come along with a bolt cutter and get into a locker really quickly," said McSwiney. "These new ones have a long metal bar inside of them so they're much harder to break into and we think it's going to reduce theft."

McSwiney said the installation of the units will depend on when the lockers arrive. If they are delivered before the winter break students can expect them to be in use next semester, but if they come too close to what McSwiney calls the "New Year's resolution rush" they won't be in use until February or March. The 300 new lockers will cost the university $80,000 with a 20-year warranty.

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