New construction includes weight room

McKenzie Quirin

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Courtesy of Tom Palfey

Workout Done With the new weight room finished students are able to use the new equipment. The weight room is included with the construction of the new school building.

The construction of the new school is in full swing. Along with the new building, the newly improved weight room was added to the new physical education space.  Physical education teachers Tom Palfey, Michael Adams and Meade Simington designed this new workout space with help from the school administration. 

“When they[the administration] started the planning process of the new school they called all departments to discuss what we wanted. We knew we wanted a separate room for cardio and weights,” Palfey said.

Palfey and the rest of the physical education teachers decided on one plan for the new weight room. The plan going into the first meeting was to have the free weights be on the bottom. Although that plan was resourceful, plans got cut and the department put another plan into place. During a discussion about the new weight room, there were talks about seeing people working out while driving by could be important. 

“We decided to make the front room be the weight room while the middle room be the cardio room,” Palfey said.

The construction of the new weight room was originally supposed to be done last year, but workers needed an extra year to put work in to make it how the physical education teachers planned. Construction as a whole lasted for three years with Palfey and the other physical education teachers met with the construction company who installed the equipment.

The new weight room decreases competition with other schools to have a “state of the art” facility. 

“This puts us on par with the other types of schools to which every student in physical education will be introduced to free weights while having sports teams put it into use before and after school,” Palfey said.

Even though the new weight room will be in use for students and athletes at the high school, many can still use the Sheetz athletic training center by Mansion Park.

With the new weight room, Palfey believes that this will introduce students to new opportunities that make sports long-lasting and to help someone find what interests them.

“Just the fact that almost 2,500 students will be exposed to the free weight room which is an outlet for an exercise outside of school while having the ability to keep yourself strong through life is important,” Palfey said.

The biggest thing that was important to have in the weight room, according to the physical education teachers, was space to move around freely. 

Included in the weight room are 14 racks which can be effective when considering a whole gym class is using the equipment at one time. 

Many students have put the weight room in use over the school year since the construction was finished.  Senior Khayla Murray is a student who has frequently used the new equipment for the gym this year. Murray had a positive reaction to the weight room at first sight.

“My reaction was that I thought it was really nice and looked very put together,” Murray said. 

Along with Murray, physical education teachers had positive things to say about the appearance of the weight room.

“It’s awesome, and it is everything we wanted. We see people on social media putting hashtags and compliments. Now we just have to put it to use and have the students appreciate what we have gotten done,” Palfey said. 

Murray imagines that more students will take advantage of using the new weight room now that it is finished.

As Palfey stated various administration and workers helped put this plan to action. The Altoona Area School District Foundation is one program that helped with the process of building the weight room.

“AASD Foundation is a nonprofit whose mission is to fund and provide programming enhancement for students and is quietly working on a campaign to allow individuals to sponsor or namespace within the new high school,” community relations director Paula Foreman said. 

There will be a grand opening ribbon cutting at the end of March beginning of April.