In the summer of 2009, construction began on the residence halls of Buchanan Towers. Since then, any passerby could notice the new additions being made to the south side dorms.
What might be less obvious are the changes being made in the heart of the new BT lobby. A storage room, containing space for more than 100 bikes, is in the process of becoming a fully-operational satellite for the Outdoor Center’s Bike Shop by early October.
The renovations to BT were constructed with an emphasis on sustainability and resource conservation. The OC’s focus on sustainable and environmentally-friendly transportation made a perfect match for the 20-by-20 foot space in the new BT lobby.
“I am excited that we are going to have that available for students and [they] can tap into that resource locally and in a convenient location,” said Derek Murakami, resident director for BT.
The new shop will have all the features of the current location in the Viking Union. Students will still be able to gain the instructions, tools and parts needed to fix their bike with the $2 tool-fee charge. Toolkits, which include tools a bicyclist might need in case of an emergency, are also available for $20.
Weekend and evening hours will be implemented for the BT shop, making it more available for students.
“[The hours] are not exactly set in stone,” said Skylar Hinkley, OC equipment shop manager. “We’re working with the resident director find what time works best for students who live in Buchanan Towers and the adjacent residence halls.”
Hinkley, who will be overseeing most of the operations at the BT shop, has much in store for the new location. Hinkley said there will be weekly bike trips up to Mount Galbraith every Thursday at 4 p.m., as well as workshops and clinics geared toward instructing students on bike safety and maintenance.
“It’s a really small space, but we’re trying to get as much out of it as possible,” Hinkley said. “That’s why we’re trying to do clinics and encourage not only people from Buchanan Towers, but Fairhaven and anybody who can access the south side.”
Currently, the OC is waiting for approval from BT to install a workbench in the new area. The workbench would be used as storage for parts, a place for students to work on their bikes and, what the OC emphasizes most, a center for instruction.
“That’s really what we’re about is teaching people how to fix their own bikes,” said Fred Collins, OC recreational director. “There is a misnomer that we fix bikes, but we don’t fix bikes. We want people to learn how to fix their own bikes.”
As of now, the OC plans to keep the BT shop fairly restricted to biking activities and instruction. Individuals seeking to rent kayaks, hiking gear or any other of the OC’s many services still need to visit the ground-floor VU location.
Hinkley does not know what the future holds for the shop nestled in the BT lobby, and said it is sort of a “pilot project.”
“We’re going to see how things go and how well received it is, and if we get more space we’ll be able to start renting equipment,” Hinkley said. “I think that’s something that we’d definitely like to see in the future.”
As for Collins, the shop in BT is one step toward achieving an ultimate goal.
“This is all part of my crazed master plan to take over the south side,” he said.