When it comes to the upgraded weight room facility at North Salem High School, students are enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Many of them helped install the new interlocking rubber floor during the holiday break in December, and the facility also includes eight new weight lifting racks and four new spin bikes.
There’s more improvements to come with on-going fundraising efforts.
“Now I’m kind of part of history,” said sophomore baseball player Will Tsukamaki, who helped install the floor. “I feel blessed that we have all this stuff. How it looks inspires more people to come in.”
A fundraising project that began in December of 2015 has met approximately half of its goal of $130,000.
But rather than wait for all of the funds to be raised, North was proactive in making improvements to its weight room sooner than later.
“We’ve got kids who were gonna graduate before they ever saw the fruits of their labor,” first-year North athletic director Brodie Cavaille said. “We wanted to show progress to the kids that have been working before they graduated and get things going.”
Once upon a time a weight room that was originally added to the school in 1992 was considered state of the art. But equipment in the facility, which is approximately 50 feet wide and 200 feet long, was showing its age.
The goal is to complete fundraising efforts by this summer and replace the remaining equipment that was part of the original weight room. North also is working with the Salem-Keizer School District to improve the lighting.
The new equipment matches the school colors – red and black.
“The kids are energized by it,” said North Salem baseball coach Chris Lee, who teaches three weight training classes a day at the school.
“It’s modernized. It’s safe. It looks really good and it’s very functional for all the lifts and activities that we wanna do. It’s just been a joy to see the kids grasp that and run with it, and put in solid work to improve and get better.”
Lee estimates that about a third of North’s student body uses the weight room, and that’s not just athletes.
Amapola Monteon, a sophomore and aspiring body builder, didn’t know much about weight training until she arrived at North. Lee said Monteon has shown so much progress that she’s able to help other students.
“The (equipment) was kind of old, it had been here for years,” Monteon said. “There’s more room for us to squat and it’s more than we used to have.”
The weight room is open about 12 hours a day, and students can train after school and in the summer months as long as a teacher/instructor is present.
While it’s not mandatory for student-athletes to take weight training classes, it is encouraged.
“The people who are successful in athletics for us come and really dedicate themselves in the weight room,” Lee said. “They get faster and stronger.”
There’s a pride factor as well in having top of the line facilities.
Steve Chambers, who is North Salem’s alumni association president, has been instrumental in the project. He has ties that bind with the school.
Chambers was a state champion at North in the low hurdles in 1967, and serves as a volunteer track and field coach.
“What it means to the alumni community is that North Salem will stay competitive with other schools,” Chambers said. “We want our weight facility to be at least at the level of other schools. I’m proud of the efforts that people are making to bring it up to date.”
Current North students and a generation of future Vikings will reap the benefits.
And for a school that has struggled athletically in many team sports in recent years – North Salem’s petition to the Executive Board of the Oregon School Activities Association to move down a classification and play against smaller schools was unanimously approved Monday – it’s a positive sign.
“It’s a step up,” said sophomore Zach Goodwin, who plays football and baseball at North Salem. “We’re just improving everything.”
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