Williamsport Area High School opens new fitness center

The Williamsport Area High School recently opened a new fitness center in the former blue cafeteria. The fitness center opened the first week in March and has been a huge hit since then.

The idea of building a fitness center in the high school had been discussed since the late 1990s. The school had a weight room in the basement of the gym where students could lift, but it limited their workouts.

“Compared to the old one, it was in the basement, it was dark and kind of clustered. In this one you can look outside through the windows, there are treadmills and other cardio equipment to use to get a workout in,” junior Roshaun Cooley said.

The Williamsport Education Foundation supported the fitness center project, since its inception by providing support for an annual golf tournament as well as other projects to promote the fitness center project. The foundation raised about $40,000 over the past several years to help support the cost of future equipment needs.

“We wanted to have a complete fitness center, one which the students could be proud of and develop a place that students want to be, and are excited about for their school,” said Sean McCann, Williamsport’s athletic director.

Construction for the fitness center began in September 2013. The school had to wait until the new cafeterias and serving areas were open before starting work on the center. The high school recently remodeled the food serving area and cafeteria, to make it similar to a college cafeteria.

Construction crews then remodeled the former blue cafeteria into the fitness center.

“In using blue cafeteria for the fitness center and training room, we are able to make efficient and effective use of our current space, without having new construction on the building,” said McCann, It was a win-win situation for the entire school and student body.”

In addition to the fitness center, there also are new locker rooms and trainer stations.

Construction was completed in February, and the equipment was delivered later that month. On March 3 the fitness center opened its doors to students, faculty and staff.

“There is a lot more room now and allows us to work out with other people, but also to focus on what we have to do,” said sophomore Frank Rose.

The new fitness center can accommodate 75 to 80 people at one time. From 6 to 7 a.m. the fitness center is open to faculty and staff.

During the school day, it will be used during physical education classes for student use. From 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. students are able to use the fitness center to work out, as well as use it for athletic teams.

“After school there are a lot of people in the fitness center. Sometimes the football team will come down and both of the track teams are working out, “said senior Greg Johnson.

From 4:30 to 5:30 faculty and staff are able to use the fitness center to work out.

The center is equipped with cardio machines, free weights, pin-selected machines, plate machines and power racks.

There also is room for medicine ball and plyometric functional work-outs.

“I use it (fitness center) to prepare for the season and to get stronger for soccer in the fall,” junior Kaitlin Caringi said.

Many of the athletic teams take advantage of using the fitness center to prepare for their upcoming or current athletic seasons.

With the cold start to spring sports season, some of the teams use the fitness center, rather than practice outside.

“When it is very cold we come in here to workout,” sophomore and track athlete Heaven Maeshack said.

The athletic teams will use the facility year-round, under the supervision of coaches and professional staff, to help improve themselves and their performance, said McCann.