|Messenger photo by Linda Dillman|
|Zack Hitchens, a Canal Winchester sophomore and member of the track and football teams, works out on a new leg press machine in the high school’s weight room obtained as part of a $30,000, five-year, donation from the Waste Management company.|
Student athletes and physical education students at Canal Winchester no longer have to wait in long lines to take their turn at bench pressing weights or putting in a few miles on a stationary bicycle.
Canal Winchester High School’s weight room, housed in a building located behind the home bleachers of the football stadium, features rows of machines lined with heavy metal disks, gleaming bars of steel, and hand held barbells. Balance balls provide additional balancing challenges when students workout in the facility.
Although the complex is part of the district’s inventory, according to Athletic Director Kent Riggs, the equipment in the weight room was provided through donations and efforts by athletic boosters. Waste Management recently made a five year, $30,000 commitment to provide funding for equipment.
"This structure was built around 2003/2004 and we’ve always had weights in here, but never like this," said Riggs. "What Waste Management did was to approach the boosters and ask what would be a good thing to do to help out the kids and the athletic department. We didn’t have a leg press machine before and with all the newer machines, we can work with more kids.
"We started talking with Waste Management in August. The boosters took out a loan to front the cost of the new weight equipment and then will be paid back through five annual $6,000 donations by Waste Management. No general fund dollars paid for the equipment. It’s all been donated or purchased by the boosters."
Before the construction of the facility eight years ago, Riggs said athletes worked out in a weight room in the former middle school. The athletic department still maintains a small weight room with updated equipment across from the gymnasium in the high school.
"We had had eight racks of weights before, but some of it was pretty antiquated," said head football Coach Phil Mauro. "Now things are much safer and we can accommodate a larger number of athletes and students. When you don’t have enough equipment, you get what I call the ‘King’s Island Effect’ with kids standing around waiting in line.
"With the new equipment, they don’t have to wait so long to work on their next set, so they can get their workout done in shorter period of time. It makes them stronger and helps prevent injuries. All of the equipment is very user-friendly and we’re really appreciative of Waste Management and their donation."
Mauro reported two physical education classes use the facility during the school day and between 40 to 50 athletes after school. The coach said numbers swell dramatically during the summer, when a pair of doors is rolled up to provide additional air flow in the windowless structure.
"Phil’s done a good job of organizing this space," continued Riggs, "and using it the best way we can. Everybody has done a good job of taking care of what we have."
One student athlete who takes full advantage of the 12-month-a-year complex is sophomore Zack Hitchens, who considers the weight room his second home.
"This is a lot more organized now and there’s more space," commented Hitchens, who runs track and plays football. "With more equipment, the workouts are faster. I feel bigger, stronger, and faster because of the weight room."