Gimbel Gym gets in shape

The University community will be able to sweat in style by the start of next semester, thanks to a $1.2 million makeover that will transform the first two floors of Gimbel Gym into a high-tech fitness center, replete with new weight training and aerobic equipment, video monitors, air conditioning and lots of natural light.

Preliminary construction is underway on the gymnasium renovations, which received a $500,000 donation from Penn parents Ellen and Howard Katz, who will remain active in raising the balance needed for the redo.

Gimbel's face lift provides only a short-term solution to the greater need for more recreational and athletic space, President Judith Rodin announced last week in conjunction with the release of a consultant's report on the situation.

The report, undertaken by Brailsford & Dunlavey in November 1996, recommended an additional 225,000 square feet of recreation space, including a complete Gimbel Gym reconstruction and the new construction of a large facility at the eastern end of campus. Pending further evaluations, the developments could cost up to $100 million, according to University officials.

Originally published on April 30, 1998