Shadyside looking to expand weight training facilities

Physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle are two of the prominent things in America currently.

Shadyside High School is hoping to do its part to encourage both with the addition of a new weight room to the high school that could be utilized by the entire student body.

Principal John Haswell has had this idea in the back of his mind for a few years, but it’s really taken off as fundraising and plans are coming together.

“We want all of our students to have access to weight training as a life-long fitness benefit,” Haswell said. “When our classes were 55 minutes long, we would walk the students to the field to get access for weight training, but we now have 43 minute periods, so we don’t have time to do this.”

Haswell was talking to current Shadyside assistant football coach Gregg Bonar about his idea one day, who strongly encouraged him to contact Shadyside Class of 1978 graduate Jim Peal, who is the strength coach at Butler University in Indianapolis, to get some advice or assistance with the project.

“When Coach Bonar told me to contact Jim, it really took off,” Haswell said.

Peal was on board before Haswell could finish his idea and started rattling off ways and methods to make the dream a reality.

“This is for the good of the student body,” Peal said. “It’s a great chance for me to give back to the community and improve the student athletes and general welfare of all of the students.”

The room will be located near the gymnasium with hopes that between 16 and 20 kids can use the room efficiently.

“It’ll be a basic room with four lifting stations, bench, squat, clean, pulls, dumb bells, etc,” Peal said. “We’re actually getting some of the stations from Yale. It’s re-doing its weightroom and it should be completed by the spring, so we could have this room up and running before May.”

Shadyside’s former library has been renovated into a cardio room with equipment that was secured through a grant. Both Haswell and Peal hope the addition of the weightroom just complements the cardio room.

The goal is to have the weight room up and running by next school year, which Peal believes is definitely doable.

“I am not sure everything will be in there by then, but there will be a weight room,” Peal said. “The project won’t be real, real expensive, but it’ll still be a really nice area for the kids.”

Fundraising is ongoing, according to Haswell. Peal made a sizable contribution to the project himself and $1,000 was raised through a ‘weight-a-thon.’

“We’ve found some equipment that’s reasonably priced,” Peal said. “We’re trying to reach out to alumni and people who’ve maybe left the Ohio Valley and want to have a chance to give back to the school that helped them become who they are today.”

For information on making a donation or the project, contact Haswell at the high school.