BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee athletic director Cam Coutcher has a plan in mind on how the improvement project for the high school’s weight room will happen.
Now, it’s up to the community to make sure it can all stay on that timeline.
Coutcher announced in early December that plans were moving ahead to buy new equipment and revitalize the aging weight room at Maumee High School.
Everything was moving along nicely – the Maumee Athletic Boosters agreed to donate $50,000 for new equipment that the board of education agreed to match – until the equipment vendor took a look at the floor of the room.
While the floor in the weight room is currently usable, there were red flags that popped up. Instead of waiting for a few years to install new flooring, Coutcher has decided there is no better time than now to do it.
Even though that means the process will be more economical in terms of time by doing both the floor and installation of new equipment at the same time, it does hurt the project’s bottom line. Coutcher must come up with around $20,000 for the materials and installation of the new floor.
“The equipment we purchase will last longer if we have the proper flooring,” Coutcher said. “When you talk about having a new space with all new equipment, a new floor is something you’d want to do first, that you put the equipment on.
“It’d be nice to do it all at once. The floor we have is not a true weight-lifting floor. We want to get the project done in one fell swoop instead of going back later.
“My main thing is, if we’re going to spend all this money on new equipment, let’s put us in the best position possible to have it last as long as it can. If you don’t get a new floor for five years … the equipment is going to take a beating.
“I’m trying to think of ways to prevent maintenance down the road and doing the project the right way the first time.”
In order to cover those costs, the school is selling naming rights for 16 racks in the weight room at $3,500 each. While Coutcher would love to see sponsorships sold for all 16 racks, he has a bottom line number that needs to be sold before work can continue and more equipment ordered for the space.
Sponsorships are not only open to individuals; companies and groups are encouraged and welcomed to purchase them as well. Anyone interested in sponsorships may contact Coutcher at the high school at (419) 893-8778.
While Coutcher has slowly begun to order new equipment, he already knows what is happening with the usable items from the high school weight room.
Students at Gateway Middle School will benefit from these improvements right away, with an old locker room space located underneath the home bleachers at Gateway being remodeled into a weight room.
“It’s a usable space – it was inspected and everything is good,” Coutcher said. “I’ve got a plan in my head – we just need to figure out when everything is coming in.”
Coutcher said he’s hopeful that they can get approval for a supplemental contract for an afterschool weight room supervisor to allow sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in the weight room after school.
“We need to develop a curriculum and a plan of attack for younger people,” Coutcher said. “We’re not going to have them lifting heavy weights. We’ll do technique and work on their motor function and mobility, develop core strength.
“We’re going to do some research and check some boxes of what we need to do at that age developmentally.”
Gateway assistant principal Dan Curtis is excited for the project to start at the middle school. He believes the addition of the weight room in the school will help students both inside and outside of athletics, hoping that they can integrate use of the weight room into normal physical education classes.
“We’re super happy to have that opportunity here,” Curtis said. “There aren’t a lot of middle schools that have a dedicated weight room in their school. Our middle school isn’t that far from the high school, but it is sometimes difficult logistically to arrange and organize times.
“When your athletic teams are successful, there is an infinite amount of pride and culture that comes back into the school building. It’s a circular pattern. You have success on the fields and the court, and you feel that energy in the classrooms and hallways throughout the day.”
While Coutcher said students wouldn’t be using the weight room at Gateway until the fall at the earliest, he doesn’t have as much wiggle room with the timing on the high school weight room.
The company that has been hired to provide, deliver and assemble the equipment works with many colleges, which use the summer as their time to do improvements.
Coutcher had circled spring break as the optimal time to do the work at Maumee, and with the unknown of the flooring project, it puts that timeline in jeopardy.
“If we order our equipment soon, we’ll get ahead of other people,” Coutcher said. “Getting five or six of those rack sponsorships sold quickly will speed up the process.
“The unknown is holding me back from ordering everything right now, because I want to make sure the floor can be installed before the equipment arrives.”