Sports

The wait is on for weight room fix

As part of his on-going plan to improve the play of the Bremerton High football team, coach Nate Gillam would like to at least see the equipment in the school’s weight room be replaced with more up-to-date ammenities that other schools, such as Olympic High, already have. - Photo by Jesse Beals
As part of his on-going plan to improve the play of the Bremerton High football team, coach Nate Gillam would like to at least see the equipment in the school’s weight room be replaced with more up-to-date ammenities that other schools, such as Olympic High, already have.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The walls are not coming down at Bremerton High School.

This news was a tough pill to swallow for some Bremerton coaches after a school board decision early last month to remove expanding the weight room from the list of items to be accomplished at the school as part of bond additions.

Estimates for that work came in between $285,000 and $385,000, a price too steep for the budget granted in a May 2005 vote.

While the schools are committed to promised track upgrades and a new fitness center which were put in writing before voters went to the polls, Superintendent Bette Hyde was clear in a meeting with coaches Tuesday evening that talks about the weight room came later, and were not guaranteed.

“There was no mention of the weight room because we never talked about the weight room,” Hyde said. “This fall, we started having conversations about the weight room. “Looking at what we promised the voters, we had to look at making some cuts. The tracks are things we did promise the voters, so we are going to have those.”

School board member DeWayne Boyd expressed hope a solution could be examined that might be less ideal but an improvement over the current facility.

“A real problem we have is inflation driving the cost of materials up,” Boyd said. “But I wonder about alternatives.”

At that point in the meeting, Bryan Hansen, the father of a Bremerton athlete and an assistant coach for the football and baseball teams, stated from a coach’s perspective, something has to be done.

“Space is a priority,” Hansen said. “Kids are being turned away from the weight room.”

Athletic director Larry Gallagher pointed out that has not always been a problem for BHS.

“The concern about the weight room has only come about in the last year. The previous seven years, it was empty,” Gallagher said.

The AD gave credit to the seven coaches hired over the past two school years for showing a commitment to weight training and ensuring there is now a demand for the previously underutilized facilities.

“The concern, focus and need for improvement is here and it’s here to stay,” Gallagher said.

And at that point, Gallagher came up with the best idea anyone expressed so far. Removing equipment stored in the rooms where expansion proponents hoped the walls could come down and filling the space with new equipment. Not ideal, but an improvement.

Track coach Lloyd Pugh said some improvement was certainly a possibility within the current space as that space was not being used as well as possible.

“The thing about our weight room is that it’s poorly arranged,” Pugh said. “We have some things that are in the way.”

Coaches and administrators talked about how to deal with supervisory issues that would come up with weights in separate rooms and agreed to look at adding doors and windows, a less costly and perhaps feasible alternative to eliminating load-bearing walls.

If that can be done, the school will need to obtain the equipment to fill the added space.

“There is some money in the bond for equipment and outfitting rooms,” Hyde said. “I can’t say whether that can go to weights. But I won’t say it can’t. It’s something we can explore.”

Bremerton football coach Nate Gillam was unable to attend the meeting but has previously voiced his concerns.

“We aren’t asking for the world, just something that’s not 20 years old,” Gillam said, pointing to busted barbells and the like in a corner of the weight room.

Gillam addressed the school board on March 16 and expressed hope that improvements could be made in order to support a team that struggled to win, but showed academic success, retention of players and an intangible pride and commitment to the program since hosting a youth camp for Pee Wees in the summer prior to beginning the season.

Improvement may be in the cards. While Bremerton will still not be able to match Olympic League 3A opponents Port Angeles and Olympic in terms of its facilities, it can get a little better. One assistant football coach mentioned getting racks that can accommodate squats, benches and power cleans, not just one lift or another, to conserve space.

Hansen felt encouraged that the talks produced at least some hope for improvements.

“I think we have alternatives we can explore,” he said. “I think something constructive could come out of this meeting. Let’s get together, go look at it and see what we can do.”

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