This past spring, it was announced that The Pit was being relocated. Students may notice a change in College Square. The space formerly housed by the Diplomat Strength Center is under renovation to become F&M’s Sam N. and Dena M. Lombardo Welcome Center for prospective students and their parents. It will house the admissions, advancement and alumni relations offices. This sparked immense outrage amongst student-athletes and students alike since The Pit is a great resource to work out outside of the ASFC. In fact, people were so upset that a petition went around to keep The Pit in its original location, although it was unsuccessful, and The Pit was relocated to the Woodward room on the upper level of the ASFC. I was able to sit down and talk to Coach Mike Oliveto, one of F&M’s strength and conditioning coaches who works with teams like men’s lacrosse and volleyball, and see what he had to say about the whole situation.

BD: What was your initial reaction to finding out that The Pit was being relocated?

CO: I was both excited and nervous. I was excited because the previous space was too small but nervous because there was no formal plan for a new space. 

BD: In general, what do you think of the new Pit?

CO: The space is much bigger than what we previously had so we’re able to utilize all the equipment that we have with much better efficiency. I also like that everything is centered under one roof now. We don’t have to do as much moving around, especially for athletic teams and some of the speed, agility, conditioning, and dynamic warm-up stuff. It gives us much more space to utilize, so I really like that. The only thing I don’t like about the new space is that it is upstairs and my office is downstairs, so I do get a lot of reverberations from weights hitting the floor. That gets a little old midway through the afternoon. 

BD: Were there any new additions to the old Pit? 

CO: Everything that we had has been reused. Nothing was added. It just seems that way because now we are able to utilize the double racks to their full potential whereas previously we had the same number of racks but we were really only able to use about ⅔ of them. ⅓ was just used for pull-ups because the space was so confined. So, it seems like we do have more but it’s everything we’ve always had. 

BD: Do you think that the new space will ultimately be more beneficial for our sports teams here at F&M?

CO: Definitely. I’d say it was a lot more challenging to program in the old space because you lost four racks so the groups had to be split up much more. So, instead of everybody starting on one thing we had groups starting in different places which made the flow of the room more confusing, whereas now everybody can start at the same place and we can just rotate our way through. It’s gonna help us be more efficient. 

BD: Do you think that, in general, the student-athletes and students like the new Pit more despite the initial controversy?

CO: From what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, I definitely think that everybody is ecstatic about the new space. Certainly because of how the reaction was at the end of the semester last year when the announcement was made that it was going to be relocated. I remember that everyone was infuriated thinking that they were going to lose The Pit and not foreseeing that it was going to be kind of a blessing for us. It’s giving us a lot more space, allowing for a lot more people to be in there at once. So, I think that everybody is enjoying the space. And I think that they like having the fitness center right next door in case they want to use some machines. I think all in all, everything is going well. 

BD: Because the rowing team used to be in the Woodrow room, did they also have to relocate? 

CO: The rowers are now in Mayser Gymnasium in what was the Dip Center for the time being. 

As a student-athlete myself, I have had access to the new Pit this fall and I have to say that I agree with a lot of what Coach Oliveto is saying. Even though there was a lot of controversy surrounding the situation last spring, I do believe that this change has only benefited the F&M community. 

Sophomore Belle Dintino is a Contributing Writer. She can be reached at