The Pequot Lakes School District is seeking donations to upgrade its weight room equipment.
There has been a steady growth in the number of students who use the weight room. Increased enrollment and increased interest have created a need to update the equipment and layout so that more students can work out.
The weight room is open every morning with roughly 15-25 students lifting before school starts for the day. During the day, we often have at least one physical education class in the weight room. We do have enough room for two classes to lift at once, but we don’t have enough equipment for those 60 students.
The size of the weight room does fit our needs and it is in a perfect location, near the locker rooms, access to the indoor running track and close to the athletic center; however, with more student use needed during the day and the increased use before and after school, it is time to improve the layout and upgrade the equipment inside the room so that more students can work out at the same time.
In addition, the vision for our strength and conditioning coach is to work with all of our athletic teams so they can lift twice a week while they are in season. Currently, our teams find they must lift before school to have enough room for everyone to get in these twice-a-week sessions.
Our current weight room only has four places to bench press, squat and clean. These are the big-three lifts that students use when training. We also only have one dumbbell area, one place to use a lat pulldown or a seated cable row. These areas often have a line of students waiting to use these lifts.
Many of our older students are starting to pay for memberships with area facilities because they are tired of waiting for equipment to open up. We need to change this so all of our students can lift within our facilities to create a better sense of pride and cohesiveness by lifting together.
The initial part of this project is to change the room name from our weight room to the Fitness Center. The name change is more user-friendly, and it seems more welcoming to all students to train and work out, rather than just those who want to lift weights.
Our proposed plan will give us 16 areas to bench, clean and squat. Each station will be equipped with a bench that is mobile so students can bench, use dumbbells and raise the bench for inclines, making these areas practical for a group of students to get in and work out in just one area.
On the other side of this is either a lat pulldown and seated cable row or an inverse curl machine that is state-of-the-art for training explosive leg power. This setup with our equipment will allow more of our students to work out at the same time. We can have multiple classes at once during the day.
We will be able to have all of our teams work out in this facility during the season to create more competitive teams, to be better prepared for injury prevention, and to create that team atmosphere that is desired.
The new equipment will be branded with school colors, with Patriot logos, creating more school pride. The new equipment layout will also facilitate our students that are handicapped or injured to be able to work out.
We are seeking donations from the community and businesses to support this outstanding improvement for our students. We know this improvement will help all of our students improve their mental health, increase physical strength, help prevent injuries and give them an athletic edge when competing.
The donation goal to improve the Fitness Center equipment is $300,000. There are various levels of sponsorships, from Patriot Level ($50,000 or more) to Barbell Level ($499 or less).
All donations are welcome and can be submitted online through our district website (click on “Payment Portal” and then “Donations:), or mailed directly to Pequot Lakes Schools, Attn: Fitness Center Project, 30805 Olson St., Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.
Thank you for your support! Go Patriots!
Byron Westrich is the Pequot Lakes School District activities director and high school assistant principal.