Many students upset over plans to close Phoenix College fitness center

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- There is a new victim of Maricopa County Community Colleges. Phoenix College is set to close its fitness center after an internal audit showed the gym has low enrollment and is losing money.

But many students say it's really their only way to get their exercise.
"I've been working out at Phoenix College for a long time," Edna Pasqualettie said. "I was 84 when I started."
The 100-year-old Phoenix College student, who takes a creative writing class, says it's all that time spent working out at the campus fitness center that has her in such good health.

But now, because of budget problems, the fitness center gym is scheduled to close so the money can be spent on more popular programs.

Pasqualettie and the younger students, like 19-year-old Maria Jimenez, who get college credits for working out are not happy about the impending shutdown.
"You have the equipment so why don't you use it? That's the way I look at it," Pasqualettie said.
"They receive credit for this class, which motivates them to come so if they close it down, it's not going to be a good impact," Jimenez said.

It costs students about $80 a semester to use the gym. The school is promising to accommodate the students, even looking into outsourcing the program to YMCA.