Preston Center adjusts guidelines to avoid COVID-19

The most recent renovations to Preston Center were completed in 2010.

Jacob Givens

Just like many places across campus, the Preston Center has seen major changes in operation to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The first major guideline put in place was the requirement of wearing a facial covering while not exercising, according to Candice Douglas, assistant director of the Preston Center.

“If you are not actively engaging in an activity or exercise, you’re not in the pool swimming, running or walking on the track, or on a piece of equipment working out, you have to have a mask on,” Douglas said.

The basketball courts are restricted to the public at this time as well, with one court being converted into a secondary exercise space. She said many pieces of equipment have been moved on the courts and spaced six to 10 feet apart to accommodate for social distancing.

New measures have been put in place in order to properly maintain a sanitary environment, as well. With new sanitizer misting tools, Douglas said staff at the Preston Center periodically shut down areas of the facility in order to clean them.

Some of these areas include bathrooms and locker rooms, which are misted and wiped down thoroughly every two hours. In place of guests using a shared spray bottle and paper towel to clean off a piece of equipment when they are finished with it, the Preston Center has instead stocked up on new gym wipes.

Along with cleaning, the Preston Center has adjusted its max capacity to 200 visitors. Its hours of operations are as normal, however they do plan to adjust the hours after Thanksgiving, due to the decrease in population on campus at that time.

Douglas said the facility has seen a significant drop in the amount of visitors compared to last year’s numbers. In September of 2019, the facility recorded an average of 1,400 daily visitors, and 28,331 for the month. Now, in September of 2020, those numbers have been almost cut in half. The facility reported an average of 700 daily visitors, and 16,677 for the month.

All of the Preston Center’s new guidelines are in place to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19. With a more spaced out workout area, deep and often sanitary measures, and a large decrease in the amount of visitors, the facility is doing its part to keep Hilltoppers healthy.

Jacob Givens can be reached at [email protected]