Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 20, 2018

FHS weightroom gets $180,000 makeover

By Justin Webster, Ledger sports editor | Apr 17, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Fairfield High School students use the new equipment in the remodeled FHS weightroom. The remodeling occurred in March while the students were away on spring break.

Late in 2017, Fairfield High was negotiating with the University of Texas in Austin for some equipment that was expected to give the FHS weight room a boost. After preliminary discussions, it turned out the equipment was sold and no longer available to the Trojans which started conversations on what it would take to give the current facility a makeover. What would be needed, how much would it cost, and would it be feasible?

It turns out the answers were: a lot, a lot, and yes.

Less than six months and more than $180,000 in donations and sponsors later, Fairfield High School has a shiny new toy.

“Everything was taken out and all new equipment was brought in including the specialty floor that you can feel is nice and thick,” said Activities Director Jeff Courtright. “You can drop weights on it, it’s a state of the art flooring system that Libertyville Savings Bank took care.”

The massive room also has six double power racks that allow the kids to do a variety of exercises in one location from bench press to squats, cleans, pullups. “Now the kids don’t have to get bottlenecked on one piece of equipment. You can put a group of four on each machine and service a lot of kids in a little bit of space,” added Courtright.

 

Ledger: More space seems like it will allow the kids to expand themselves further.

Courtright: It’s funny you say that. When the kids came back from Spring Break, because that’s when much of this renovation project took place, they left and came back and boom the new stuff was here and several made comments asking which wall we took out. We just made the space seem a lot better by removing some of the equipment that was rarely being used or was outdated. We freed up some space and now you have the ability to perform some of these modern-day exercises that require you to move across a room. We can now pull bands and do stretches, throw medicine balls and that makes it a very functional facility for our athletes.

 

Ledger: This seems like an all-sport setup sans a small wading pool for the swimmers.

Courtright: Exactly. It can be used by everybody and we’re looking to incorporate some strength training classes in P.E. next year, so you’re right, it’s not just for one athletic team or program. We want everybody using it and it’s set up for that flexible use. A lot of different exercises can take place in here and it can be used for a variety of purposes.

 

Ledger: This helps Fairfield keep up with the rest of the state’s premiere schools, correct?

Courtright: We want to give our kids opportunities and you’ve got to come in and put in the work, there’s no doubt about that, so we’re trying to influence kids to come in here and when you have nice stuff it can lend to give some motivation and some wow-factor like, “Hey, look at this cool stuff. I want to be a part of it.” There’s no doubt it can’t hurt but you still have to come in and get the work done. We didn’t want any kind of excuses that you don’t have the equipment so we don’t want to work out here. You don’t have that excuse here now, we have a great workout facility here and if you come in here and work hard, good things will happen. We’ve been pushing a lot of in-season weight training and our coaches have really bought into it and the way the weight room was set up before, if you had two teams come in it was hard to accommodate everyone and many times a whole team would be waiting to use one piece of equipment and that doesn’t happen anymore. We just recently had both the boys’ and girls’ track teams in here which is 70 kids and they were able to workout and use the space in a very functional and efficient way in a very short amount of time.

 

Ledger: This should help increase the overall athleticism of your student body.

Courtright: We do want kids involved in a bunch of activities, not just sports, but the fine arts as well. As we look at the athletic realm we do want them in more than just one activity. It’s always been our No. 1 priority and it’s why we push a lot of in-season lifting because we believe that if the coaches will commit to doing some lifting in-season, then the out-of-season coaches can support the multisport athlete push because they know their kid is getting some proper strength training in-season.

Fairfielder Nate Weaton was also instrumental in facilitating the project.

“My interaction was simple. I believe that every kid deserves to have a facility to go to and improve themselves, whether it’s for athletics or personal well-being. Not only is it good for sports but this allows us to add things back into the curriculum either in physical education or a wellness program and you need the proper equipment to do that.”

Weaton didn’t and couldn’t have done this alone.

“This is an amazing display of how our community steps up and takes care of all kids and has an interest in making sure all kids have an education and access to the best extracurricular activities. The weight room is certainly a huge success, but if you go deeper into our activities and see the choir and music and fine arts programs and these are all fine examples of community support.”

Courtright concluded, “This is an example of where this was privately funded by a whole bunch of community organizations and businesses along with some private donors that felt this was important to provide for our kids and that’s a sign of working together. We want to be classy and we want people saying that about our kids and our programs. Having nice facilities that look nice is part of that idea.”

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