Exercising students fill Auburn Mountainview’s new fitness lab inside the school’s field house. COURTESY PHOTO

Exercising students fill Auburn Mountainview’s new fitness lab inside the school’s field house. COURTESY PHOTO

Clearing space for all to train

Auburn Mountainview High School transforms storage room into aerobic fitness center

This is no ordinary lions den.

Once a depository for sports equipment, discarded gear, broken desks and junk, a spacious storage room has been transformed into a fully-equipped aerobic fitness training center at Auburn Mountainview High School.

In a collaborative effort between school staff and the community, an anonymous, cluttered storage room has become an attractive cardiovascular training hub replete with high-end spin bikes, advanced elliptical and other treadmill machines.

All in a push to get staff and students moving.

Steve Calhoun and Kent Rodseth – longtime teachers and coaches in the school’s health/physical education department – envisioned the Auburn Mountainview Lifetime Fitness Lab last February. After considerable time and thought – buoyed by grants the two men secured to finance the project – the lab that occupies one end of the school’s field house next to the track and field oval opened during the second week of school.

“It was having the vision to see that this could be used for something really cool,” said Calhoun, who teaches sports and preventive medicine, human anatomy and fitness. “It’s a collaborative effort, but it benefits all of our PE kids, athletes, staff in having a place to do cardio rehab.”

The Lions baseball and track and field programs were among the groups who agreed to move their equipment elsewhere and to a new, on-site container that athletic director Chris Carr obtained.

Once the room was cleared and cleaned, Calhoun and Rodseth laid down cushioned flooring. The room was painted in school colors, and a large collection of purchased and donated aerobic bikes and machines trickled in. Grant money made the purchases possible, with most of the machines bought at substantially reduced prices throughout the campaign. Online had its share of bargains. Other people generously donated machinery.

“I actually sent an email out to all of the staff,” said Calhoun, “(asking) do you know of anybody who has a piece of fitness equipment that they’re using as a coat hanger?’ And bam, I got five hits right away.’”

And the lab isn’t finished. The goal is to add a sound system, a couple of large-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and a whiteboard and projector for instruction.

“It will be like any other classroom,” said Rodseth, a coach and strength and conditioning instructor. “It has caught the kids’ excitement.”

The lab has opened up room and possibilities. Aerobic machines prone to damage no longer crowd Rodseth’s weight room. Calhoun and his student trainers can hone their skills in the rehab room devoid of exercise machines. Kids in the walking fitness program can escape the narrow hallways and get a quality workout in the new lab.

The lab is open to PE/health classes, sports teams and staff. And the lab is evolving, always looking for donations. The public is welcome to donate to the cause by contacting the school.

“Exercise is medicine, and kids today don’t move enough,” Calhoun said. “We’re getting them to move any way they can.”

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