Technically, the school gym isn't free, its paid for by the student fees that are buried in the tuition. These generally can't be refunded for non-use (although Missouri State recently talked about doing optional fees for building a new center).
College is all about taking personal initiative. They wer eremoved because people complained through the right avenue in the right way (or they were "out of space"). You can try the same way by providing signatures, evidence of benefits, etc. If not, maybe they can open up another, more "advanced" weight room or allow students in the athletes room under certain conditions. If they were out of space, provide a suggestion as to less effective, larger machines that could be moved/removed and go that route.
Worst case ,as been stated, find somewhere else to train, maybe a garage gym/basement somewhere.