The Future Looks Bright For Brookfield Academy Athletics With Hopes For Fitness Center Revamp


Michael Hoggatt

Weight room's four racks fail to accomodate more than a handful of athletes at a time.

Strength training plus the athletic programs equal success.”

— Jon Kahle

A recently unveiled plan to construct a new weight room at Brookfield Academy ignites student athletes’ optimism, as the current facility is outdated, too small, and presents numerous safety concerns.

High level performance across the board shows the dedication athletes at Brookfield Academy put into their sports. Athletic Director John Kahle emphasizes the importance of lifting to sports, saying, “Strength training plus the athletic programs equal success.” Since the early days of strength training in 2012, our athletics have secured 24 conference championships and 3 team state championships. Katy Schlosser points to lifting for the success field hockey has had against much larger schools in the state.

Will Werner, the strength and conditioning coach, has seen consistent growth in the number of athletes in the weight room over the past three years. Male attendance has steadily increased, and female attendance has soared from virtually none to many regular athletes.

This increase has led to greater success on the playing fields, but also to to a cramped and risky environment. The humble space holds four racks, five treadmills, four assorted machines, two dumbbell sets, and a platform. During a given workout, athletes take turns using the weight racks while the rest lose time waiting.

According to the Werner, the limited space “definitely slows down the workout.”  Athletes not only have to wait their turn for lifts, but also must navigate over warn and uneven mats that are often covered by athletes in sardine fashion, who try to complete free weight or body weight workouts in any remaining floor space. While the space can comfortable fit around 10 athletes, depending on activities, it often hosts up to 40. 

Spacial constraints lead to complications during summer training, especially. The lifting must be divvied into two separate sessions to accommodate the large quantity of athletes. The athletes even have to warm up in the gym rather than the weight room. The lost time leads to wasted opportunities and resources for the school.

When entering the facility, you can smell the hard work before you can see the weights. The lack of proper ventilation keeps moist, hot air trapped inside, and a few floor fans are the only suppliers of breathable air.

Placing the fitness center on the second floor above the locker rooms suggests that it was an afterthought during construction of Patriots’ Hall. The small Olympic lift platform has adequate support at best, so anyone performing heavy lifts of any kind has the potential to end ten feet below where they started.  In addition, managers and the trainer must lug medical supplies, ice, and water downstairs to the fields and buses.

The blaring music and clanging weights made after school study in Dr. Guru’s next-door classroom challenging. With the relocation, that problem will disappear, and the old location will be converted into classroom space.

BA’s athletic director, John Kahle, and physical trainer, Travis Herring, will have offices attached to the new weight room. Kahle’s office, currently detached from the weight room, distances him from the training, but soon he will be directly involved in the action.

The current weight room is the source of water for athletic events, meaning coaches or Travis must carry down their supply from the second floor. The new location mitigates this problem.

While plans are still underway, the new weight room will be four times the size of the current space with a separate entrance from the athletic fields. Equipped with several full weight racks, the new weight room will be large enough to also have a significant amount of open space for teams to do conditioning.

With the new space, the hope is that more students at BA develop life long skills that will help them maintain healthy bodies.

While the specific plans for the equipment in the new weight room are still being finalized, there are a few things future students can count on. First, the new site will be nearly four times the size of the current space. This allows for up to ten separate weight racks, several rowing machines, more free weights, and some additional cardio equipment.
The premium feature of the new center will be a lot of open space. The area will be covered in a safe and easy to clean rubber flooring. This space makes it possible for multiple teams to train, and allows for lower and middle school PE classes to be held  there.
Second, a new training room will have several treatment tables and taping tables, a shaved ice machine for more effective icing of injuries, and even a whirlpool bath that can be cold or hot, depending on the athlete’s needs.
Finally, the fitness center will feature  a separate outdoor entrance at the athletic fields and an indoor entrance from the current gym, and includes plans for revamped locker rooms and new bathrooms.
The date of construction is currently unknown, but expected in the near future.