Urbandale High School unveils $5.5 million fitness center upgrade

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They can’t wait.

Since window coverings concealing a major renovation at Urbandale High School were removed two weeks ago, students have been coming to peer through them at brand the new fitness facilities they’ll be able to use this fall.

School officials recently announced that construction was wrapping up on a 9,300-square-foot weight room and 3,800-square-foot multi-purpose area, which the school dubbed the “performance lab” and “performance studio,” respectively. In-person classes resume Aug. 25.

Funding for construction of the district’s first fitness center was tied to an early 2018 vote in which Urbandale voters overwhelmingly approved a $59 million plan to build the facility as well as two new elementary schools.

According to the district’s website, an estimated $3.5 million in construction costs came from those general obligation bonds, while another $2 million for equipment, lighting and new restrooms was paid for by the state’s Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) funds and Physical Plant & Equipment Levy funds.

The facilities are a drastic improvement from what students are used to: a 3,000-square- foot “mobile weight room” under the gymnasium bleachers that often had to be moved before events, said Pete Traynor, the school’s strength and conditioning director.

Superintendent Steve Bass in 2018 described the old weight room as an “over-sized storage closet.”

“To be a (Class) 4A school and not have a fitness center is majorly outdated,” Bass told the Des Moines Register before the bond vote. “It’s just not appropriate to not have that type of facility.”

The performance lab will be utilized by about 700 student athletes as well as students in strength classes, and the performance studio is dedicated to cheer and dance teams as well as conditioning classes. Students with injuries or disabilities also will benefit from the update, Traynor said.

“We have new equipment in this facility that will allow us to be able to work with athletes and students with all kinds of limitations,” he said. “We’re going to be able to better serve any of our students that have any kind of ailment or issue or injury, pre-existing or not.”

Shelby Fleig covers Des Moines’ western suburbs for the Register. Reach her at shelbyfleig@dmreg.com or 515-214-8933.

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