RBR Opens New Fitness Center towards Creating a Healthier Generation of Citizens
This school year saw the debut of a spacious new 2,700 sq. ft. fitness center at the Red Bank Regional (RBR) high school, a much desired addition to the school in many years. It came to fruition through a a financial commitment by the Board of Education to fund the construction and from community donations to furnish the space. In particular, the BUC Backer Foundation and Buccaneer Athletic Foundation fundraised over $75,000 to provide state-of-the art equipment. The addition cost of $1,070,000 was funded under the district’s capital improvement fund.
RBR Athletic Director Del Dal Pra comments, “As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. It definitely took our community to build this facility. Our kids will grow to be stronger athletes and better citizens when they leave RBR because they will understand how to work out and lead healthier lives.”
The new facility allows for 60 to 70 students to workout comfortably; since its opening this past fall, its utilization has seen about that number on any given afternoon. Mr. Del Pra is hoping to attract additional donations to augment the existing stations and weight equipment so it can accommodate a 100 person capacity. During the day, physical education classes visit the facility to instruct students how to use the equipment. Lesson plans are being written to incorporate use of the facility into next year’s curriculum.
Del Dal Pra comments, “By the time this generation of kids become adults, statistics predict that one in four will be obese. Many will contract diabetes, and this is destined to become the most out-of-shape generation in American history. To combat this, each community has to start at the grass roots level. We need for our kids to buy into the idea of being physically fit, and follow a nutritional diet. Providing a facility like this hopefully will get this generation and future ones to become healthy by working out the correct way.”
Mr. Del Pra is also very grateful that, in addition to building this facility, the RBR Board has committed funds to hire a strength and conditioning coach to staff the facility after school each day next year from 2:45 to 5:30 pm.
Some students have already reaped the benefits of this conditioning, as girls’ assistant basketball coach Jack Provine, a certified strength and conditioning coach has been working with the team prior and during their basketball season. One of his athletes, junior Mary Vilardi, was injured during a game and tore her posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) which necessitated a two-month recovery.
She comments, “The doctor was shocked at how strong my knee was from all our strength training. That most likely prevented a much worse anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which is a much longer recovery.”
The new facility benefits all the school’s sports programs. Senior Michael Colao and his fellow soccer players have utilized the fitness center.
He states, “Some of the kids in soccer never lifted in their life. This facility created a much better environment where kids want to go and work out.”
The question was posed if it was a coincidence that the RBR football team had its best season in decades as the facility opened midway in the football season. Prior to that, the football players were training in what was a very cramped inadequate space less than half the size of the new facility.
Junior and defensive end Jack Haytaian recalls the old facility, “It (the former facility) was just too small, it makes it a lot harder to lift. I used to get kicked out of the weight room. Now this one has a lot more space with better and newer equipment.”
Senor and defensive tackle Righteon Johnson adds, “We had the benefit of it at the middle of our season and I think it motivated everyone to even work harder.”
RBR’s head football coach Nick Giglio weighed in on the question stating, “I believe this helped RBR obtain something great that has been talked about long before I came to the program.”
In considering the entire student population, Coach Giglio comments, “In the short time it has been open, our new fitness center has been getting used by male/female athletes from ALL sports, plus non-athletes from all of our many great communities who are looking to work-out after school. This tremendous facility will benefit our entire student population for many years to come.”