UC San Diego Recreation announced that RIMAC gym will reopen in late February 2020, following a sprinkler malfunction that flooded portions of the facility.
The system failure which caused the sprinklers to go off occurred on Jan. 16, 2020, which ultimately led to the closure of the gym. Because of the pressure in the valves, the water could not be shut off until all of the pressurized air had left the pipes.
Richard Mylin, the director of UCSD Recreation, spoke with the UCSD Guardian regarding the events that occurred in the gym.
“Fire sprinkler malfunctioned, water starts pouring out,” Mylin said. “We weren’t sure the alarm goes off so we were evacuating the building, and staff were walking around the building shutting off valves, but what you have to remember are all sprinklers are pressurized so we had to wait for all the water to leave this broken head.”
The gym initially had to be closed for the staff members to assess the damages and drain the water outside of the gym. Because of the design of RIMAC, the water released from the pipes drained into the pit of the weight room.
“In the pit, we were fortunate that the head wasn’t above any equipment, so we didn’t lose equipment,” Mylin said. “But, all of the flooring and drywall are looking to be replaced.”
Inside of the pit, all that was left behind following the flooding was concrete because all of the paddings were too soaked to be salvaged. On top of that, according to Mylin, for a few days, the squash court underneath the pit was not usable because the water had soaked through the concrete to the lower levels. As of now, however, the squash courts are ready to be used again.
Mylin spoke about plans to fully reopen RIMAC, with a repaired pit area that will allow for more people to be able to work out during peak hours of the day while maintaining the same design as before.
However, Mylin emphasized that it may take longer than the predicted February deadline to open because of the extent of the damage.
“We’re just drying out the concrete because while it’s still damp we won’t be able to put flooring and adhesive,” Mylin said. “We’ve reviewed and we’re going to put in new flooring and new drywall. My hope is sometime later in February because it takes four weeks to ship products but I don’t have it yet from my vendor.”
Many students who frequented RIMAC have been frustrated with having to use alternate on-campus facilities. Main Gym and the gym portion of the Canyonview Aquatic Center, which are also run by UCSD Recreation, are significantly smaller than RIMAC.
Armin Momen, an undergraduate student at UCSD, voiced his frustrations towards RIMAC’s facilities not being fully operational to the Guardian.
“When I first found out [about] the incident, I was a little upset about the situation,” Momen said. There aren’t many options on campus because places like Spanos have been closed to accommodate only student-athletes.”
Momen explained that he was forced to find other places to work out because there were not machines or weights at the other UCSD Recreation facilities that worked for his exercise patterns.
“I can’t get anything done at the Main Gym really because they don’t have the equipment I need that suits my body type,” Momen said. “And I’ve been forced to go to 24/7 Fitness, pay the membership fees, and take time out of my day to commute there because RIMAC being on campus made everything so much easier.”
While no date has been given for when RIMAC will fully reopen, Mylin anticipates an announcement will come soon.
Photo by Sepand Rouz for the UCSD Guardian.