PELLA—Major enhancements to the Ron Schipper Fitness Center are complete and Central College athletes in town for the summer are taking full advantage.
A $350,000 donor-funded investment allowed for a facility redesign, with new equipment, lighting and other infrastructure improvements.
“We are so grateful to all of the Central alumni, parents and friends who continue making upgrades like this possible,” said athletics director Eric Van Kley. “We’re committed to providing life-changing opportunities for Central students and they’re a big part of that.”
The most noticeable change is the new one-inch rubber flooring that replaced the original surface, which was a combination of 1/4-inch Mondo flooring and carpet. New lifting platforms are recessed instead of raised, allowing space for 13 lifting racks in the same space as 11 of the old platforms.
“There’s a lot more open space which allows for more versatility in working with multiple teams,” strength and conditioning coordinator Kyle Johnson said.
There is now warm-up space as well.
“There are times when the gym is being used, the fieldhouse is being used and we have to use this space for workouts and warm-ups as well,” Johnson said. “This allows for that.”
New dumbbells and racks, squat racks, benches and bars were also installed in the popular 7,200-square foot strength and conditioning facility. The new barbells and plates are rubber instead of the traditional metal, providing increased durability and eliminating the need to frequently tighten plates.
“With the dumbbells, we changed the weights from what we had,” Johnson said. “So we have more of the weights we use the most, which means less standing around for athletes who are waiting for a particular weight.”
The facility is one of the most heavily used on campus and the enhanced space allows Johnson and his staff to train more athletes.
“We have as many as 70-75 students at one time and have hundreds use it every day,” Johnson said.
Renovation work started in March. It’s the most significant facility redesign since it opened in 1998. Central continues to be a strength and conditioning leader. Central has three full-time coaches, allowing for individualized training programs for each athlete, with an additional emphasis on nutrition. Central’s popular intern program has helped graduates prepare for strength and conditioning coaching careers, landing jobs at colleges, universities, teams and businesses across the U.S.
Central also offers a unique strength and conditioning major and last year became one of just five colleges nationwide to earn accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Strength and Conditioning Programs.