Wooster and Princeton are the only two schools to make U.S. News & World Report's list of schools with outstanding undergraduate research opportunities and senior capstone programs for 10 consecutive years. In addition to placing such a strong emphasis on academics and research, Wooster also offers its students a variety of extracurricular activities.
The Scot Center, a LEED Gold Certified facility, opened in January 2012. The 123,000-square-foot fitness and recreation center features four multipurpose courts for basketball, tennis, volleyball, and other activities; an NCAA regulation 200-meter running track; an indoor long, triple, and high jump and pole vault; a fitness center; new locker rooms; batting cages and a multitude of other equipment for indoor practices; as well as, new athletic department offices and meeting rooms.
One of the school's goals with the upgrade of the Swigart Strength Center was to have the Scot Center and existing weight room flow seamlessly as a completely new facility. "The existing building is located directly across the hall from the Scot Center," said David Brown, Assistant Athletic Director at Wooster. "In the construction of the Scot Center, the college also devoted extensive funds to upgrading our existing buildings so that a quality and functional facility was created throughout."
The Swigart Center, which previously served the entire campus community, was transformed into more of a free weight and strength center. This complements the new Williams Fitness Center located in the Scot Center.
The newly upgraded weight room is not just for athletes. "There are no cardio machines in there," said Brown. "We worked with Legend Fitness and our staff to identify our needs and determine the best use of the space. We came up with a floor and equipment plan, which would be able to accommodate both large and small groups, but we were also conscious of the aesthetics of the facility. We feel that with the financial support we received, we were able to meet all those needs and more, and were able to create a first-class facility."
The college purchased five double cages, which create 10 working stations, where the majority of Olympic lifts are performed. The flooring underneath these cages is crucial, as it properly supports the weightlifter, provides a safe footing, and absorbs falling and intentionally dropped weights.
The existing flooring was about 15 years old and not suitable for the demands of the new strength-training facility. "Their flooring and equipment was not what you needed to train athletes at a D-3 school," said Cougar Midlam of Legend Fitness, a manufacturer of professional strength equipment based in Tennessee that supplied 4,000 square feet of Everlast UltraTileT and the new strength-training equipment for the project.
Midlam recommended Everlast UltraTile to Wooster after installing the same floor in the weight room at Tennessee Tech University. "It's a great surface, because instead of putting in separate lifting platforms, you can install the UltraTile without platforms. You just designate the lifting platform area in and in front of the lifting cage."
This recycled rubber flooring was installed in two-by-two-foot square tiles, which surpass the noise and shock absorption qualities of any other fitness floor. UltraTile can withstand the constant dropping of weights and pounding of equipment without showing wear and tear. The flooring also incorporates color - black and gold - that captures the school's branding.
"We looked around and had done a lot of research on other facilities with various flooring options," said Brown. "We didn't want to go with platforms, which broke up the area. We wanted to have something that had a cushioning effect, not only for weights, but also for athletes doing other activities. We wanted to invest the extra money to have a quality product that would last a long time."
For a school so committed to excellence, it's no surprise that this project was a resounding success. "From a project standpoint, there is almost never enough money to do what you want to do," said Midlam. In addition to college funds, there was support from outside donors, and they made sure nothing was overlooked.
"Usually, in a weight room, something gets short changed; but, that didn't happen here" said Midlam. "In every case, they were cautious, and came up with the funds to do this right. It was really a dream project. I am very proud of the final outcome."
is a freelance writer, based in Lancaster, Pa. She has experience in corporate Public Relations (PR), and served as a PR account manager for the second largest B-to-B agency in the U.S. Garnet specializes in promoting products for manufacturing firms. To learn more about ECORE International, its advanced technologies and portfolio of products and brands, please visit www.ECOREIntl.com.