By Chris Chaney
The Batavia High School athletic department and coaching staffs have taken it upon themselves to spruce up their athletic facilities in an effort to save money as well as make the competitive environment better for their student-athletes.
“We saw an opportunity to be able to improve our weight room, our training room and our locker rooms with very little cost,” Batavia Athletic Director Ben Stewart said. “We thought it would have a big impact. The Athletic Boosters funded the projects completely, so we were able to expand the size of the weight room and remodel our locker rooms.”
In another cost-cutting measure, the Boosters money went only towards the supplies needed to complete the jobs, while the labor was done by the members of the athletic department and coaching staffs for free.
“As coaches and along with Athletic Director Stewart, we got together and realized that we wanted to upgrade some of our facilities,” said Jason Strine, an assistant coach for the baseball, basketball and soccer programs. “It was cool because we were able to do and kept the cost close to nothing, but we were able to upgrade the facilities for the players.”
The first of the two phases of the remodeling process began last summer with the athletic departments revamping of the weight room. In the redesign, the members of the athletic department tore down one wall in order expand the size of the weight room while reconstructing another wall. According to Stewart, the redesign increased the size of the weight room by a third, meaning that the formally cramped machines were able to be properly spaced, making it more efficient for the student-athletes.
The second part of the weight room project allowed for a bigger training room in which to cater to the needs of the student-athletes.
The second phase of the revamp was the remodeling of the boys’ and girls’ basketball locker rooms.
“The two locker rooms were more of a basketball-driven facility change,” Strine said. “Our boys’ and girls’ varsity programs now have a special area for their things during the basketball season.
“They seem to really like it. It makes it more exciting for them. We painted the floors and painted the walls and hung some stuff on the walls.”
Strine said that each remodel took about a month’s worth of weekends to finish with different members of the athletic department up at the school for extended periods of time. And now that the faculties hard work has been shown off, the student-athletes are grateful for the job their coaches did.
“The kids responded to it really well,” Strine said. “We finished the weight room prior to the football and soccer season, which was nice because the football team used it a lot. The (student-athletes) really like the idea that the coaches are putting in the effort for them and they like getting the opportunity to use a newer facility.”
As for more upgrades on the horizon, Strine said that more cosmetic changes could be in the works, but not big overhauls are expected to take place any time soon.
“We’ve discussed (doing more),” Strine said. “We want to go through and update the walls (in the weight room) and at some point, update the equipment if it’s possible. Of course, everywhere it’s kind of money-stricken.
“Outside of that, there’s some minor facelifts we want to do like paint the walls of the gym, but no real construction like we did with the weight room.”