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Weight room included in renovations for spring

Weight room renovations are tentatively set to begin on June 11. There will be an extension for a designated cardio area and new machines.

By Elena Schmidt, Staff Reporter

After a regular school day, the weight room is filled with everyone from club and team sports athletes to students making up EEPE credit, as well as those who just want to work out. With physical education classes adding on to the population, the weight room is often filled to the brim with students. 

With the school expansion project starting this spring, the weight room will also be upgraded to improve the athletic experience at Conestoga. Renovations, which include an extension, new wall paint, mirrors, and machinery, are currently scheduled to begin on June 11.

To accommodate the growing student body, the administration has been working with architects to improve the layout of the weight room and designing how to place the machines to leave as much space as possible between them. The extension will serve mainly as a cardio area because the cardio training equipment is generally frequented the most. Assistant Principal Patrick Boyle emphasizes the care put into planning and looks forward to remodeling the weight room.

“The bidding process of equipment needed, what the flooring is going to be like, the color of the paint on the walls and all that (is being) spelled out very detailed by both the school district and architects to make sure that we have something that the students need to be more productive in (that) area,” Boyle said. 

The athletic director, Kevin Pechin, says the weight room has remained unchanged since the ‘90s. While Pechin is giving up his current office to make room for the new cardio fitness area, he is enthusiastic about the renovations and optimistic that the changes will accommodate all training plans as well as encourage more students to make use of the facility. 

“It’s going to be a great thing for the kids. I think when (we) get the new equipment in and the weight room looks more modern, people are more apt to go in and use it,” Pechin said.

The football team will be affected by construction taking place over the summer. The team’s off-season begins in January and includes summer sessions in the weight room to prepare for the upcoming fall season. To allow the team to continue practicing, the machines will be moved into the small gym during construction.

Junior and varsity football player Michael Costigan has been using the weight room to train since his freshman year and has noticed how crammed the space is. He believes that the added room and equipment will be helpful, as treadmills are often busy and there is a lack of space for free-weight exercise, which makes the room impractical for football training. Costigan explains that doing the same workouts can improve team spirit.

“Right now everyone has to do something different. I feel like if everyone does everything at the same time, we can be more of a team and get everyone ready,” Costigan said.  

Weight room renovations are tentatively set to begin on June 11. There will be an extension for a designated cardio area and new machines.

In addition to stronger team camaraderie, practices will likely be more efficient with more room to train. Matthew Diamond, who coaches the baseball and football teams, agrees that remodeling the weight room will benefit student athletes.  

“I think the updated newness is going to get the kids excited about continuing to work out in the weight room, and new machines and more free weight weights are going to lend (themselves) to a lot of (people that) can get a lot of work in and get the workouts done faster. It can definitely get crowded in there, so the added space is going to make a big difference,” Diamond said.   

Like Costigan, Billman and her teammates often wait a long time to use equipment and complete workouts because the weight room currently lacks the capacity for such a large crowd of athletes. As a senior, track and field athlete Katie Billman will not experience the changes next year, but she is glad that other teammates can look forward to the upgrades. 

“It can be a pretty stressful environment with all those people in there. Hopefully (the renovations) will improve (students’) overall training and camaraderie amongst all the different teams so it’s a nicer space for everyone to use,” Billman said. 

Physical education and Health and Fitness teacher John Jones, will teach the new Personal Fitness class next year, which will also make use of the weight room. He agrees that the weight room is not only a great resource for his classes and the sports teams but for any student who uses it to work out. Many lack access to other training facilities, so students, especially upperclassmen, take the opportunity to exercise there. 

“It’s like having your own gym membership. You don’t have to belong to the Y, you don’t have to belong to Lifetime. You have this (weight room) here,” Jones said.

Elena Schmidt can be reached at [email protected].

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