By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
It took a variety of pieces to put together the new, improved weight and cardio rooms at Monticello High School.
The pieces inside the weight room are impressive. Purchased from The Gym Authority, out of Waterloo, the project included new, rubberized flooring in both the weight room and the cardio room.
The weight room has several new pieces of weightlifting equipment, and the cardio room includes new treadmills and bike machines, exercise balls, dot drill mats, yoga mats and more.
The walls have been repainted as well, giving both areas a new look.
“The kids love it,” activities director Tim Lambert said. “It’s high quality, it’s a great setup, and it really meets our needs a lot better than what we had. It allows us to have more kids in there working at the same time. You can get a lot more kids through there a lot more efficiently now.”
The $56,000 project could not have come together, however, without the financial help of three organizations.
The Monticello Athletic Booster Club donated $25,000 for all of the items in the weight room. The Monticello School Foundation contributed $17,000 for equipment in the cardio room. And the Monticello Community School District paid $14,000 for the flooring.
“It’s state of the art,” Lambert said. “Everything up there is the best we could get.”
Vallerie Lynn, P.E. teacher at MHS, agreed.
“The exciting thing about it is, the kids take a lot of ownership in it now,” Lynn said. “I think it promotes a little different atmosphere. They’re happy with it, they’re proud of it and they take care of it.”
Former activities director Bennett Eastburn “got the ball rolling,” Lambert said, about a year ago. He had been in touch with Ron Landphair of The Gym Authority about new equipment and flooring for the weight room.
Eastburn went to the booster club, which agreed to support the project. After Eastburn resigned as A.D. to take a full-time math position at the high school, curriculum director Gretchen Kriegel and Lynn kept in contact with the donors to keep the project moving.
Shortly after Lambert took over as A.D., he met with Landphair, Kriegel and strength coach Greg Williams to discuss what equipment was needed.
School curriculum director Gretchen Kriegel worked with Lynn on the cardio side of the equation, and they stayed in touch with the school foundation for financial help.
“The foundation paid for the stuff in the cardio room because it’s also for P.E., and their focus is more on the academic side,” Lambert explained. “There were some things in there that can be brought in the gym for P.E. classes, so that’s nice too.”
“I teach a pilates and yoga unit,” Lynn said, “and so now we’re able to do that down in the gym with a lot more room, as opposed to the wrestling room.”
The rubberized flooring is a big help, as well.
“If you have a rubberized floor instead of carpet, you don’t need a platform for some of the lifts,” Lambert said. “Having the rubberized flooring allowed us to have four lifting stations up there, where before we only had one.”
Lambert said there was a spirit of cooperation from the beginning.
“Everyone was supportive,” he said. “Everybody saw a need there and did their part to make it happen. I was told yes at every turn. It was great.
“Our custodial staff painted the whole thing up there. They did a great job and really worked hard. Anything we needed done, they did it. They put a lot of time and effort into getting done right for the kids.”
By early October, the weight room was open for use, and since that time the last remaining pieces have been brought in.
“With everything that’s in there now, we have everything we need,” Lynn said. “It just kind of snowballed. One thing led to another. It’s exciting.”
PHOTO: New flooring, new equipment and a paint job have spruced up the high school weight room. (Photo submitted)