Arts & Culture / Mosaic / October 19, 2011

Pigs and snow in the Aux Gym

Bats, a haunted bathroom, snow coming through the ceiling — these are all complaints from dancers and studio art majors that call the 93-year-old Auxiliary Gym their creative home.

Originally, the space was an actual gym used for women’s sports, and it was later converted into a dance studio. However, few changes have been made to the facility since its construction in 1918, creating a less than ideal environment for its use today.

Terpsichore Dance Collective President, dance minor and senior Erin McKinstry, admitted that evidence of the building’s age is everywhere.

“We need a better space and a bigger space,” McKinstry said. “The Dance Department really had to fight to make it a dance space and not a ‘here, let’s put our crap in here space.”

Several years ago, even an escaped pig was allegedly put in the Aux Gym after it was captured by Campus Safety.

“There was poop everywhere from this pig,” McKinstry said.

One of the ways in which McKinstry — who frequents the building at least five times a week — thinks the space could be improved would be fixing the many leaks.

“There’s this one spot right by the door, and I always accidently leave my rain boots there and they’re filled with water,” she said.

Dance costumes stored on the second floor of the Aux Gym were also damaged by water seeping into the building.

Along with the many leaks, the Aux Gym lacks a proper air conditioning system, forcing dancers to open windows in the spring.

“There’s always bugs in the spring, and it’s so hot in the summer,” McKinstry said of the facility.

Studio art majors that work in the basement have voiced similar complaints. Senior Mark Farrell was assigned studio space in the basement of the Aux Gym last year. Farrell said that some of the conditions of the building made it difficult to work on his paintings.

“The light was pretty bad, but I got used to it,” he said. “Because all of the light is fluorescent it’s difficult to judge color.”

In addition to the lighting issues in the basement, Farrell had other issues with his subterranean studio space.

“Sometimes during class critiques there would be a lot of stomping upstairs and loud music and it would be really distracting,” he said.

Despite the deterioration of the Aux, both McKinstry and Farrell believe that the aging building has a certain charm.

“I liked the way it was,” Farrell said. “It was kind of inspiring. Just so old and creepy.”

Anna Casey

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