Following a five-month renovation that has transformed the space for today's student-athletes, the A.E. Finley Activity Center's weight room was officially reopened today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by students from the Student Athlete Leadership Team (S.A.L.T.), RAC (Ravenscroft Athletic Club) leaders and involved parents. Head of School Doreen Kelly and Athletic Director Ned Gonet led the ceremony.
The successful project is the result of determined fundraising on behalf of athletics. RAC kicked off the renovation with a $50,000 lead gift last spring, and alumni and families who are passionate about Ravenscroft athletics joined in.
"This project is an example of extraordinary teamwork," Kelly said at the event. "It started with a conversation between our associate head of school for philanthropy, Phil Higginson, and Jonathan and Jennifer Shimer '89 and Satish and Kim Mathan ... and grew into a team effort.
"We want to thank the entire team who made this [renovation] possible so that our students can stretch in the best facilities possible."
The upgrades focus on improved safety, additional equipment and more open space — all of which benefit today's student-athletes. Bo May, Ravenscroft's strength and conditioning coach, said the project's priorities included the following:
- Comfort and safety: With new slip-resistant flooring and the addition of air conditioning, the weight room is now safer for all student-athletes.
- Open spaces: The new rack system enables more workout options within a smaller footprint. Open spaces will allow more students to use the facility at one time.
- More options: The versatility of the new rack system also allows for a broader range of exercise options. Each of the eight racks allows for benching, squatting and deadlifts and includes a set of dumbbells.
- Inclusiveness: A wider variety of dumbbell sizes and the addition of smaller barbells means more athletes will feel comfortable in the new space.
- Updated amenities: An upgraded sound and TV system and enhanced lighting elevates the user experience, making workouts more enjoyable and increasing the likelihood that student-athletes will choose to work out here.
Athletic staff have said they expect both teams and physical education classes to get a great deal of use out of the new space — including students who may not have been involved in weight-training before.
"We will now have dumbbells from 8 to 100 pounds," May said. "Plus, we have included training barbells for younger athletes and smaller-diameter bars suitable for female athletes' hands."
"The new weight room provides us the opportunity to teach in a setup where we can oversee many stations at the same time," Jim Gibbons, assistant athletic director, said. "I am excited to teach my Upper School Fitness Education elective in the new room."
"We want our students to work out here with their teammates, because that builds camaraderie and a team mind-set," Gonet added. "If we get them in here, our strength and conditioning coach can provide more guidance about their fitness regimen. This program can be a key differentiator for us."
Above: Athletic Director Ned Gonet (top left) and Head of School Doreen Kelly (top right) cut the ribbon to officially reopen the weight room; (bottom) Kelly and Gonet with current and alumni parents Beth Atkeson, Kathleen Pete-Peay, Jane Hamlin, Elaine Hankins, Karen Gring and Kim and Satish Mathan.