Photo courtesy Lakewood Athletics. The Lancers are raising money to update their weight room, with plans to install a new floor, as shown.
The athletic facilities at Lakewood High were already set to undergo a major overhaul in the coming months, but school administrators and coaches are hoping to take those improvements a step further. The planned renovations to the football field and surrounding track are set to break ground in early 2021, but the school is also taking steps to update the weight room, which is located behind the football bleachers adjacent to Tim Sweeney Gymnasium.
The school is working to raise $20,000 to complete the upgrades, which would include new flooring, repairs to the existing weightlifting racks and benches, and other changes to make the facility more ADA compliant. Lakewood’s current weight room is a 3,200-square-foot facility with 16 weightlifting racks, and serves all of the Lancers’ athletic teams and physical education classes.
“The floor is not safe and it is not ADA compliant,” said Lakewood Athletic Director Mike Wadley of the weight room. “We’re working with the district so we can maintain it and keep it working properly. Twenty years ago when it was put in, it was a top-notch, beautiful facility, but it’s not that way anymore. It has stood the test of time, but it needs to be updated.”
With district approval, the school launched a campaign to begin procuring funding for the project. Wadley started a GoFundMe page to receive donations from the community, and added a video showcasing the needs in the facility. Lakewood’s coaches have also begun working with the community to drum up support, which already includes a $750 donation from the Long Beach Century Club.
“It could really be something special for all the kids at Lakewood that are going to be able to come back and use it after COVID,” said Lakewood football coach Scott Meyer. “It would be something special for them to come back to with the field and the track and the weight room. It would be a really positive, uplifting deal for the kids.”
Meyer is certainly no stranger to the value of athletic facilities and how they can help to develop successful teams. At his previous coaching stops with Corona Del Mar High School and Servite High School in the money-laden Trinity League, Meyer saw first-hand what a quality weight room can do for a football program. He oversaw facilities upgrades at both schools during his tenure and what it did for his teams.
“It’s huge,” said Meyer on the impact of a quality weight room. “I’ve seen it. At CDM that was one of our strengths, the guys killed it in the weight room and that went a long way towards our success. For all sports to have their athletes in there getting stronger, and the team-building effect of being in the weight room pushing each other to get stronger and get better, it will be a great thing for all of our kids at Lakewood.”
Wadley said he has been working to get this initiative off the ground since August, and is aiming to have the project completed by the end of the current school year. In addition to the football field, track, and now the weight room project, Lakewood is also scheduled to begin renovations on its gym in January 2022. Those renovations will include a new floor, bleachers, and lights inside Sweeney Gymnasium.
“We want our kids to enjoy it, that’s who it’s for,” Wadley said. “We want it to be a good thing for our athletic programs, our PE classes, our weight training classes, etc. That’s our goal. It’s really going to be like a brand new school, so we need to shore up those areas that need help, and the weight room is one of them.”