Tait McKenzie fitness centre set to close later this month

What really made Dave DeMonte uneasy was those darned lights that kept falling from the ceiling. As manager of client program services for sport and recreation at the Tait McKenzie Centre on York’s Keele campus, DeMonte was acutely aware of the dangers every time a client dropped a set of free weights on the floor above.

Jarred loose by the pounding of the weights, the lights hit the customer service desk and the floor next to it. Fortunately, they never hit a client or a staff member but, still, something had to be done. An electrician was called and the lights in the client service area of the Tait McKenzie Centre were reinforced so if they fell, there was another device in place to catch them before they could do damage.

DeMonte knew it was just a short-term solution. "Because the free weights were being dropped all the time," said DeMonte.

The clients were getting a fright every time one of the free weights in the fitness centre above the service area was dropped – and that was often. It was always the same – a loud bang, followed by a startled client looking up to see what was about to crash down on them.

All that is about to change starting Monday, July 28, when the fitness centre at Tait McKenzie Centre will close for renovations and re-open sometime after Labour Day.

The old sprung wooden floor underneath the rubber in a different part of the fitness centre will be ripped up and a concrete floor will be poured making the floor much stronger and able to handle weights being dropped. Once that is done, the free weights will be moved from above the customer service area to the new floor surface, where there is only ground below. "It’s really a health and safety issue for us," said DeMonte. "It had to be done. There’s just too much shaking, rattling and rolling going on."

Previously, the weights were in the wooded floor area, but the wood was breaking with each dropped weight. So they were moved to above the customer service area and that’s when the trouble with the lights began.

The whole renovation will take about 30 days as the concrete needs that much time to cure before the rubber flooring is placed on top.  "According to our statistics the best time to do it was in the month of August," said DeMonte.

It is only the fitness centre that will be affected. For those with memberships set to expire in August, DeMonte says the centre is extending those memberships for one month. As well, the Toronto Track & Field Centre is available for use by anyone with a membership to the Tait McKenzie Centre.