Rec scales not ‘worth their weight’

By Chris Nelson

Yet another weighty issue has struck the NIU campus.

The often-used scales located at the Recreation Center are both inoperable, leaving many students unable to determine whether their workout regimens have been successful or not.

Signs posted around the rec center do not offer much hope; the target date for purchase of replacements is in the summer of 1994.

According to Office of Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore, buying and maintaining the scales has proven to be difficult.

“It’s been an ever-going process,” Moore said.

The scales used most recently were purchased nearly a year and a half ago at a price of $600 a piece.

Moore said the scales originally came with a one-year warranty. She was quick to note the repairman was no stranger to the rec center’s popular weight-measuring equipment.

Now that the warranty has expired, such costly repairs have made the old scales a liability. As a result, a search for new equipment has been initiated.

Moore expressed an interest in buying an industrial scale—one that could withstand the weight of a thousand people that enter the rec center on an average day. However, such a purchase is easier said than done.

“It’s expensive,” Moore said. “Fourteen hundred is a minimum for a durable scale.”

With no money allocated for the purchase of new scales, coupled with the fact that bond revenue money cannot be used in this situation, the rec center is forced to scramble to bridge the gap left by the broken scales.

For the time being, the rec center has purchased “two five dollar scales from Wal-Mart,” Moore said. She did not, however, appear confident in this particular solution.

“We’ll see how long they last … my guess is about two weeks,” she said.

Moore said most scales have what is called a weighing mechanism that is compressed when a person steps on the scale base. It is this part that generally wears down first in scales with less durability. This particular part was the cause of the demise of the old scales, and will likely be the first to go in the interim scales.

Plans being made for the rec center expansion project have included the purchase of a scale. The one in particular being looked at does not have a platform that compresses like common scales. Rather, it works like the coin-operated electronic scales seen in some public establishments.

Moore exhibited some reserve with this idea, for the scale would be restricted to the common area of the center as opposed to being placed in the locker rooms. The reason for this is the scale is plugged into an outlet, and people in the locker rooms are prone to step on the scale when wet.

Moore said representatives of the OCR are planning to visit a vending exhibition of exercise facility equipment later this month in the hopes of finding a solution to NIU’s scale dilemma.

As for now, the Wal-Mart specials will have to do. The old scales are set to be parted out for scrap, unless, Moore said, someone at NIU is capable of fixing the equipment.

“If anyone out there has a knack for fixing things, we will be happy to let them try to save the existing scales,” she said.