Okemos to construct new strength and conditioning building

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Okemos High School has made several renovations to its athletic facility and will now be adding in 2,000 square-feet to its strength and conditioning room.

This project, which will be paid for through the building and site sinking fund, is not the only modernization at the school. Recently, the school replaced its 20-year-old track, which was paid for through the sinking fund as well.

The old weight room, which was torn down in September, was not big enough. With enrollment up to 1,278 students, more space in the weight room is necessary.

This renovation will add equipment such as dumbbells, olympic bars, racks, benches and so forth for the sports practices as well as the physical education department.

The man in charge of all the renovations is Athletic Director Ira Childress. “With all of the wear and tear of this weight room, it was time for a change because the equipment was getting rusty, and there simply was not enough room for all of the students to get an efficient workout in,” said Childress.

Childress said the new weight room will cost around $300,000. The school has also received $30,000 for new equipment from the Okemos Athletic Boosters.

As the construction became more complete, several faculty and students expressed their excitement for the new building.

“I’m not involved in sports or anything really athletic at school, and I took the required PE class freshman year,” said Okemos Senior Lauryn Marshall, “Therefore, I will not be using the weight room but I know a lot of students are talking about it a lot and are really excited to have an updated weight room.”

“When I went to Okemos, it was pretty annoying to share the small room with a lot of other students,” said Okemos alumni David Gorman, “I’m really excited for the students that will be able to use the new strength center and have more space.”

The presence of a new weight room with better equipment will also provide some injury relief for the athletic trainer at Okemos High School.

“The previous weight room has been here since the school was built in 1994, so it was extremely old and worn out; it was also time to get new equipment,” said athletic trainer Rachel Weiss.

Weiss also explained that the wrestling room was connected to the weight room, and the school wanted to separate the two to make each room more spacious and have its own weights.

“We need a bigger facility, more space and better equipment. Kudos to the AD for stepping up and getting that done,” said Paul Palmer, a physical education teacher at Okemos.

Palmer, the former head football coach at Okemos, explained that these additions will benefit not only student athletes, but the physical education department as well.

“We offer a few different strength classes, so it will be nice to see the new room to be put to good use for many different purposes,” said Palmer.

One of the main goals of the new weight room is to allow all faculty and staff to be able to utilize it as well, so that everyone can enjoy the benefits.

“We’re hoping that faculty and staff can use the weight room. The room will be organized correctly with new, more sleek equipment that is suitable for almost all ages,” said Debby Mitchell, head of the Okemos PE department.

Mitchell also expressed how rapidly the construction was going, and she indicated that the project will be done in the beginning of January.

Childress discussed that in addition to the weight room reconstruction, a new gym floor, scoreboards and tennis courts will be renovated in the near future.

“Having great athletic facilities continue to flourish is going to give our student athletes a great opportunity to take athletics to a new level,” said Childress. “We have nearly 700 student athletes here at Okemos, with 44 total different teams, including freshman, junior varsity and varsity.”


(My two media links:)

For more photos of the construction, click this link:

Also, check out my powerpoint of the inside construction:

Ira Childress – Athletic Director

Rachel Weiss – Athletic Trainer

Debby Mitchell – Head of PE department

Paul Palmer – PE teacher and former football coach

Lauryn Marshall – Okemos High School student

David Gorman – Former Okemos High School student athlete

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