Texas Wesleyan’s athletes are enjoying all the extra space the new weight room provides, Athletic Department Director Steve Trachier said.
“The university is growing,” Trachier said, “the athletic department is growing, and it’s getting better for all of us. I like where we’re heading right now.”
The athletic program at Wesleyan had already outgrown the old weight room that was located upstairs in the Sid W. Richardson Center, Trachier said.
The department and the university looked for an existing building on campus that would be large enough to turn into a functional weight room for the rapidly expanding athletic program, he said.
“We knew that with adding football, women’s lacrosse, and men’s tennis that we had to expand our facilities,” Trachier said. “The only space large enough that we might be able to retrofit to become a weight room was that snack shop area” in the Brown-Lupton Student Center, he said.
GrilleWorks had been moved to the west side of campus to the Baker Building in previous years for various reasons and it worked well so it was moved for the weight room, Trachier said.
“[This] allowed the opportunity to retrofit that facility for the new weight room. [We were] trying to use existing facilities to support our programs,” Trachier said.
Construction began in the upstairs loft area of Brown-Lupton in the spring of 2016 while food was still being served downstairs in the same area.
“They started work upstairs,” Trachier said, “to make sure that those areas were wired for internet so that our football coaches could work out of those offices, then they started working on that loft area to create meeting space for athletes up there.”
Trachier thinks that the original plan was to have the weight room ready to use in the summer before the volleyball and soccer teams got to campus to begin practicing.
“The flooring company had to come in and put the flooring in before the weights could be put in, so we were running several weeks behind, but I want to say by Labor Day weekend we were ready to go,” he said.
Everyone that has learned anything about general health and athletics know that weightlifting is extremely beneficial, he said.
“It lends to muscular strength that protects the joints better,” Trachier said. “Obviously, it improves your performance during the activity and the sport.”
Trachier expects to see nearly all of the sports teams using the new facility, but that there will be a select few that might not use it as frequently.
“Some [teams] are a little more seasonal than others,” Trachier said. “Right now the soccer teams are in season, but they’re going to start their conditioning stuff from when the season ends on into the spring.”
Trachier believes that almost all athletes will use the new space because it is more efficient than the old weight room.
“We’ve needed a large space with a lot of weights and stations that can accommodate a lot of students at one time,” Trachier said.
Most student athletes thinking of coming to Wesleyan want to see the dorms, the cafeteria, and the other facilities available to them, Trachier said, “and absolutely when you can walk them into that beautiful facility that is a selling point.”
Defensive coordinator Paul Duckworth and linebacker coach Michael Rosas worked with Richardson’s Rogers Equipment Company to create the weight room, head football coach Joe Prud’homme said.
“I think they are very pleased with how it all turned out,” Prud’homme said.
The weight room is where most of the football team’s work occurs, Prud’homme said.
“We are in there four days a week,” Prud’homme said. “It’s our number one training tool, because we don’t really have a field to go to. It’s the most important thing we have right now.”
In order to keep from wasting valuable practice time the team is split in two sections for practice, Prud’homme said.
“We go half at a time,” he said. “That way half can do outside work, agility work, speed work, and the other half can work out, and then we flip flop.”
Prud’homme expects the weight room to be instrumental in getting players to come play for Wesleyan.
“I think the weight room, how well designed it is, how functional it is, and it looks good too, is a definite recruiting tool for us, no question about it,” Prud’homme said.
The weight room wasn’t built just for the football team; it is supposed to help all the teams improve, Prud’homme said.
“We’re real proud of it we think it’s going to be a great addition for all the sports programs,” Prud’homme said. “They’re already starting to use it and get a great feel for it.”
Strength training is an important part of every football program and every sport program, Prud’homme said.
“I think all championships start in the weight room,” Prud’homme said.
The weight room is a great tool for the football team to use to develop and build as a team, said tight end Logan Butler, a biochemistry sophomore.
“I lift basically so I can be strong enough to protect the quarterbacks,” he said. “We lift because it makes us stronger and keeps us healthy to play.”
Butler is excited to continue lifting in the weight room because it is such a nice facility.
“I love the new weight room,” Butler said. “I told coach Prud’homme it’s like Christmas. It’s really amazing.”
The new weight room is beautiful but it is functional and meets the team’s needs as well, Butler said.
“The new weight room meets all of the needs we have so that our team can meet our goals,” he said. “It’s great for conditioning and getting bigger and stronger.”