The Daily Aztec

Students unhappy with ARC men’s sauna

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by Will Fritz, Senior Staff Writer

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Some users of the Aztec Recreation Center say the men’s sauna is not functioning properly, even after a new sauna system was installed.

Electrical engineering sophomore Benjamin Gutierrez said he hasn’t used the sauna since it was out of service for an extended period of time during the fall semester, prior to the new unit’s installation.

The sauna was not functioning for at least a month, he said.

“It’s like if someone handed you the cake but it was just bread, no icing,” Gutierrez said. “It kind of pisses me off, honestly, because we pay a decent amount of money and I feel like they should be able to fix the sauna relatively quickly if people are paying that much money.”

Psychology senior John Almario said he uses the sauna seven days a week and has noticed problems.

“Usually it can break for a couple days or a couple weeks,” he said.

Nicole Widmer, ARC associate director of member services and facilities, said a new sauna was installed in January at a cost of approximately $5,000 after the old one was damaged due to misuse.

​”The old one shorted out due to water being poured on it by users,” she said in an email on March 20. “The units are not meant to take on water, so pouring water on them can damage the ​heating mechanism. We have recently added signage in the sauna to try and prevent this with the new unit.”

Widmer said the new sauna is functioning properly and is set at 180 degrees, the same temperature as the women’s sauna.

“The sauna has not been shut down,” she said. “And we have received a few comment cards mostly about temperature regarding personal preference.”

Community member and ARC patron Corey Anderson said while the temperature currently is correct, it was not high enough for about three weeks after the new unit was installed.

“It was really low, struggled to get to 90, 95, 100 degrees,” he said. “Since they’ve had it back up and running, it’s been pretty much stable. But the initial three weeks or so after they first installed it and turned it on, yeah, temperature would be … it never reached 100 degrees.”

The sauna was also out of service as recently as three to four weeks ago, Anderson said.

Physical therapy sophomore Edmund Venegas said while the sauna has been usually functional since the beginning of the spring semester, it was recently out of service.

“They just said ‘out of order,’” Venegas said. “Usually when it’s broken, they never really say why it’s broken.”

Almario said this is a semi-regular occurrence.

“It goes off and on every couple weeks, where it will be down for like two days or so and then it will be fixed,” he said.

Almario said since the signage was added, he has noticed the sauna has been out of service less often.

“They usually fix it pretty quickly,” he said.

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