Athletic department renovations to take place

Student voices incorporated in designs of new fitness center


Ruthie Posada

Junior Emma Tight fills out a questionnaire, detailing what she would like to see in the soon to be painted murals in school.

Maggie Klaers

According to athletic director Andrew Ewald, part of the referendum passed last year included building a fitness center and renovating the current locker rooms.

“As part of the referendum that passed last November, there’ll be a new fitness center built on the circle side of the activity center, and that construction starts in April,” Ewald said. “As part of the deferred maintenance dollars that were part of the referendum, the locker rooms are getting cleaned up and turned into a better space for student-athletes to use and feel school pride with.”

Ewald said the fitness center will include more equipment and a bigger space for athletes to use.

“There’s going to be an area that has cardio type equipment and treadmills, ellipticals, things like that and then there will be a space that will be a bigger, safer weight room for us to be able to use,” Ewald said.

According to Strength and Conditioning coach Jessica Gust, the larger fitness center will be a safer space for athletes.

“I think it’s a really exciting step forward for all of our athletic teams,” Gust said. “I’m excited to have a weight room that’s big enough for all of us to work safely and have plenty of room, bigger groups and more teams.”

According to junior Ava Tronson, synchronized swimmer and Strength and Conditioning participant, she is looking forward to new, upgraded equipment in the weight room.

“I’m excited to get new machines and new racks,” Tronson said. “We got a couple new racks last year but I’m excited for them all to be the same. I think having new equipment will feel a lot cleaner, some of the weights we have are falling apart, so it’ll be nice to have new ones.”

Gust said the larger weight room will allow the Strength and Conditioning program to grow to include any interested students, compared to the previous policy of limiting the program to just athletes in the school.

“In the time I’ve been here, we haven’t offered services to students who weren’t athletes just because of the limited space, and I think that’s one thing I’m really excited about, the opportunity to open up the program to more kids who maybe are interested in staying fit but don’t participate in a sport,” Gust said.

Ewald said alternate plans have been made for locker room use for spring sports and gym classes to account for the locker rooms closing in the spring due to renovations.

“Right now the plan is for the locker rooms to start March 11 and they should be done before fall sports start next year, so we’re just going to have to work through the spring not having locker rooms for physical education classes and spring athletics, but we’ve been planning for that for the last couple months,” Ewald said. “The fitness center is supposed to start in April and be done January of 2020, so that’s about a year and a half long project.”

According to Ewald, the tentative plans for the fitness center include a wall dedicated to student-athletes’ voices and goals.

“One of the things we’re thinking of is a hallway going through the new fitness center and on one side of the hallway down the wall, we’re looking at doing something that says “what’s your goal?” and “I want…” Ms. Gust and head coaches have helped me gather different thoughts on what kids are looking for and what kids want,” Ewald said.

Gust said she hopes the upcoming updates to the athletic department will help students feel a sense of pride for the space.

“We want to have the kids have some ownership of that space and really make sure that we are representing our students’ voices in the branding of that new space so that kids feel like it’s their space,” Gust said.

Tronson said she is happy they are including student voices into the new weight room.

“I’m glad there are going to be students involved in the new designs because we are the ones who are actually using it,” she said.

Ewald said he believes it is important to incorporate student voices into the plans for the new fitness center.

“It’s important to me, as this new construction is happening, to have some student voice recognized somewhere,” Ewald said. “In the last year, when I was researching and looking online at some kinds of things, something like this stood out to me and I thought it would be a great thing leading to the new fitness center and a way to capture student voices.”