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Athlete Wellness Takes Center Stage in Renovated Weight Room

by Stacy Calfo  |   Back to Table of Contents

The question was simple: What do our student-athletes need for safe and successful fitness training?

The answer led Ravenscroft’s Athletics Department to reimagine the weight room in the A.E. Finley Activity Center, making changes to meet the current needs of the physical education curriculum and athletic team training. 

“The space was remodeled over 12 years ago,” Athletic Director Ned Gonet explained. “Through the years it was well used, but it was time to update and modernize for today’s student-athlete.” 

The plan to focus on improved safety, additional equipment and more open space resonated with many Ravenscroft parents, and RAC (Ravens Athletic Club) kicked off a comprehensive renovation with a $50,000 lead gift.

“The new space provides a setup where we can oversee many stations at the same time,” Jim Gibbons, assistant athletic director, said. “I am excited to teach our Upper School Fitness Education elective in the new room.”

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. “We want our students to work out here with their teammates, because that builds camaraderie and a team mind-set,” Gonet said.

COMFORT AND SAFETY: With new slip-resistant flooring and the addition of air conditioning, the weight room is now safer for all student-athletes. “My number one priority when working on the redesign was how to improve their performance and decrease their chance of injuries,” Bo May, Ravenscroft’s strength and conditioning coach, said. “Safety had to come first.”

MORE OPTIONS: According to May, today’s student-athlete needs to focus on more comprehensive muscle development to prevent injuries. The versatile new rack system allows for a broader range of options, including benching, squatting and deadlifts, and comes with 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. “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.”

UPDATED AMENITIES: An upgraded sound and TV system and enhanced lighting elevates the user experience, increasing the likelihood that student-athletes will choose to work out here. “Kids are into modern gym setups,” Gonet noted. “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.”

Following a five-month renovation that has transformed the space for todays student-athletes, the A.E. Finley Activity Centers weight room was officially reopened in September 2019 as members of S.A.L.T. (Student Athlete Leadership Training) and RAC supporters looked on. 

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