If you're a parent of a teenager in these two lower Fairfield County high schools, you can cancel their gym memberships. Staples and Bridgeport Central High Schools just got 21st-century fitness facility facelifts.
One Westport parent is especially thrilled. Ted Huber — a father of three with two athletes at Staples — led the charge and was joined by many students, coaches and other volunteers last year to raise money for new gym equipment.
The Staples Fitness Center Capital Campaign raised $114,000 and made it possible to upgrade the school's fitness center with new flooring and went from 4 to 14 strength-training stations. The improvements then enabled Staples to donate its existing gym stations to Bridgeport High School, which had a renovated fitness center but no equipment.
The win-win effort is a boost to every student at both high schools.
"Strength training is great for stress management and helps not just athletes but all students feel better about themselves," said Staples High School Associate Head Coach Jon Zames, in an earlier interview with Daily Voice Plus in October.
The improved Staples gym is intended for use by sports teams and the school's physical education program, and there will be after-hours fitness sessions for the rest of the student body and staff, the coach explained.
Being able to accommodate multiple athletes simultaneously and on-site were the major reasons for the overhaul, Zames said then.
"The work is complete. A joint group of Staples and Bridgeport volunteers moved and installed the equipment in Bridgeport on Feb. 15th and the renovation of the Staples facility was completed on the 23rd," Huber told Daily Voice.
Huber enthusiastically lauded the efforts of the many people involved. The Staples fitness center had an official grand opening on Monday, March 9.
One of the architects for this renovation was Boys Lacrosse Coach Will Koshansky. He led the school in organizing volunteer student labor. "We needed to pull this off," he stated.
Ninety-four percent of the money raised came from private funds and the balance from Staples athletic and physical education athletic department budgets, according to Huber. Over 200 hours of volunteer coach, parent and student-athlete labor was used to move equipment in and out of the room enabling the renovation.
"On Feb. 15, our day to move and install equipment in Bridgeport, the joint volunteer effort included over a dozen coaches and athletes from Bridgeport Central High," Huber related.
Staples Football and Boys lacrosse coaches and parent leadership established three primary goals for this project when it was launched in October:
- Modernize and expand the strength training equipment available to all Staples athletes and students,
- Broaden participation in on-site strength training among Staples boys and girls teams beyond the few male sports that long dominated the weight room,
- Move and install our existing weight racks at Bridgeport Central High School which had a room but no working weight racks.
"Our aging but functional racks and platforms will be put to good use in Bridgeport. Four squat racks were replaced with 12 state-of-the-art Sorinex racks, each equipped with a range of lifting and safety equipment including double-handled squat bars, land-mind attachments, and power block dumbbells," Huber added.
"This significant increase in our capacity will allow more teams to train on-site and will allow larger teams to train more efficiently," Huber continued. "Add in new flooring and a new sound system and Staples Athletics now has a state-of-the-art weight training facility."