The Gerald Ratner Athletics Center
The Gerald Ratner Athletics Center is a staple common space for not only The University of Chicago but all of Hyde Park. Personally, I am on the women’s varsity basketball team at UChicago and spend a huge portion of my time within the confines of this building. All of the varsity athletic teams have locker rooms within Ratner and the basketball, volleyball, and swim teams host NCAA competitions here. For me and many other athletes Ratner has been home to exhausting conditioning sessions, invaluable team bonding moments, amazing victories, devastating losses and the creation of friendships that will last a lifetime. Each varsity sporting event hosts tons of students from the University as well as community members of Hyde Park creating a sense of unity that is hard to find outside of Ratner. Since the athletic center is open for membership to the public it allows undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, community members and visitors to interact and get to know each other. On any given day there are numerous games of pickup basketball happening. I have met more people outside of the undergraduate university through playing pickup basketball at Ratner than anywhere else in Hyde Park. Ratner also hosts dozens of intramural competitions, fitness classes, and open swim times that can further activate the community. I believe it is important to have more places like this that create a sense of unity for all of the people in Hyde Park. Lastly, the building is located on the northern edge of campus which is ideal for people living outside the university as well as those on campus.