Bel Air Athletic Club closes after more than 40 years

Maddie Root, Editor-in-Chief

The Bel Air Athletic Club (BAAC) opened in 1980 as a “small racquetball club,” according to ‘The Baltimore Sun.’ Since then, it has become a prominent gym and community center in the Bel Air area.

In late January, the BAAC announced that they will permanently close on Thursday, February 16. Due to the club’s impactful presence in Bel Air, many Patriots have been impacted by its closing.

Senior Mackenzie Hopkins worked at the BAAC for three years. She was a “lifeguard and swim lessons instructor.”

After first hearing the news of the closing, she was “very surprised. . . I was upset because I enjoyed getting to work there with my friends.”

“I will have to find another job and a place where I can go to the gym. Also, I will most likely not be able to work with my friends anymore,” Mackenzie commented.

Despite losing her job at the BAAC, Mackenzie is looking forward to the future. “I am currently looking to get a job at another swim club. My swim coach offered me a lifeguarding job at his pool.”

Senior Victoria Novak has also been affected by the recent news. “My family and I have been members at the athletic club for about 12 years,” she said.

Victoria added that she was extremely shocked about the closing and will miss the BAAC. “It has been a place where I have made many memories of swimming and working out with my friends and family.”

Senior Kate Cotton worked at BAAC as a summer camp counselor during summer 2022. She said that she “felt awful” for all the employees who have lost their jobs. Additionally, she felt sympathy for the kids who were in daycare there.

Assistant Principal Jake Hollin has familial ties to the BAAC. “My family and I have been members there for over 15 years. My wife actually worked there when she was a teenager. It was a big part of our lives.”

The Hollin family, who includes senior Manna, junior Sojo and two JC grads, are thankful for the BAAC.

Manna said, “[The BAAC] has been a home for me and my family, and the staff are lovely. It unified many together and was a fun family spot.”

Mr. Hollin is unsure where he and his family will continue to work out. “I’m really going to miss it, and I’m trying to figure out what to do next.”