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King Horn weight room receives substantial upgrade

The ONU athletic department gave the weight room's old equipment to Diamond Sports in exchange for a credit, which they used to buy a completely new set from Legend Fitness. (Northern Review photo/ Grant Pepper)

For the first time since 2003, the King Horn Sports Center weight room has new equipment.

The ONU athletic department gave the old equipment to Diamond Sports in exchange for a credit, which they used to buy a completely new set from Legend Fitness. ONU athletic director Tom Simmons said that the university helped with the capital request for the equipment.

Although Simmons would not give specifics on the cost of the new equipment, one “Legend Fitness Pro Series Half Cage,” which appears to be similar to the new racks in King Horn, costs just under $2,600 on the company’s website.

Simmons said that renovating the weight room had been a key concern for the athletic department.

“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and rightfully so,” Simmons said. “It needed to fit into the availability of the budget and the university’s ability to help us do it. So there was a lot of thought and coordination behind it, and it took a lot of people to pull it together.”

The renovated weight room was reopened to the public on July 6 after a week of work. The Physical Plant installed new lights and mirrors in the room, while also repainting the walls.

There are now eight racks on the weight room’s East wall, complete with benches, pull-up bars and non-metric weights. In between each bench rack is a space with a pull-up bar, highlighting the more efficient design of the remodeled room.

“What we had in there was a hodgepodge of stuff, and there really wasn't a whole lot of thought into the economy of the space that we have,” Simmons said, referencing the layout of the old weight room. “So now, if you look at it, you can tell that there’s been a more scientific approach as to what we place in there to get the most out of the space that we have.”

“Everything has multiple uses,” Simmons said. “There are very [few] one-use things.”

Several ONU strength and conditioning coaches, across multiple sports, helped design the layout for the new weight room. Simmons hopes that the increased space efficiency of the room will allow “the regular student” to be able to work out while school-sponsored teams also use the space.

“That room services 3,000 people on campus, so we want to meet the campus needs and we want to meet the athletic needs too. Both are of critical importance,” Simmons said. “So there’s times where there’s a team in there, well now they may be able to use a space and not have to take the whole weight room, and that’s the hope. We don’t want to close anybody out.”

Ryan Bruns, an ONU basketball player who worked out for the first time in the renovated weight room last week, called the new equipment “a great improvement for King Horn.”

“The thing I like the most is how many more squat/bench racks there are,” Bruns said. “There were a few times last year when I would go in to lift and all the racks would be taken and you would have to wait 15 minutes before you could get one. So hopefully, adding those extra racks will free up some spots.”

There are 2.5, 5, 10, 25 and 45-pound plates on each rack. All of the room’s new plates are rubber, which is a change from the past, as the old weight room housed a significant number of iron plates.

Simmons believes that the rubber plates will be easier on the floor when they land, and has also purchased rubber mats to be placed in front of the racks to prevent floor damage.

There is also a fresh set of rubber dumbbells on the room’s West wall, with the same number of weights as before, ranging from 5-100 pounds. There is a total of seven new flat benches, four new inclinable benches, and two new permanent incline benches in the weight room.

A new leg press machine and back extension machine highlight the North end of the weight room, alongside box jump pads. “Polar Bears” is printed in orange and black letters alongside the upper portion of all eight racks.

The athletic department also put two new treadmills into the fitness room across the hall, and Simmons hopes to acquire even more equipment for that room soon.

“Hopefully, if I’ve got a couple of dollars here soon -- and I’ll know soon -- I’ll be able to get a couple more pieces,” Simmons said. “It’s an ongoing process.”

Simmons noted that the reaction to the renovated weight room has been “fantastic” so far.

“I’ve even noticed that people are putting things away, which is wonderful because we want to keep it nice, and we want to keep things orderly,” Simmons, who works out regularly in the weight room, said. “It’s really helpful when people are mindful of that, and that goes a long way.”