Simon Family Fitness Center

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Simon Family Fitness Center

Juli Moreira

Juli Moreira

Juli Moreira

Amelia Feiner, Staff Writer

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After two years of construction, the Simon Family Fitness Center is set to open on September 4th as part of the school’s HM in Motion renovation.

The fitness center boasts 3,364 square feet of gym space and dozens of pieces of new exercise equipment and is unlike anything the school has ever had before, Director of Athletics, Health & Physical Education Robert Annunziata said.

“We are all very excited about it,” said physical education teacher Meredith Cullen, “This is a huge thing for the school and for our department, and we are very lucky to be able to have this.”

In addition to the center’s new physical features, spin classes and other group fitness activities, open to the whole community, were added to the gym’s offerings to attract students who are unfamiliar with the current fitness center, Cullen said.

Andrew Cassino (11), who plays on the football team, is excited to try cross training in the new facility, he said.

The school has also hired a new Director of the Fitness Center, Kevin Valluzzi.  Valluzzi’s primary responsibility will be overseeing the fitness and wellness program in the new facilities, Annunziata said. Valluzzi has been coaching in the fitness center for the past two years, Josh Benson (12) said.

Previously, students were unable to use the fitness center because use of the room required a chaperone, but now that Valluzzi will be working full time there, students will be able to work out whenever they want to during the day, Annunziata said.

Liliana Greyf (9) believes being able to use the gym during frees will make the facility more accessible, and she expects that she will primarily use the space during frees, she said.

In the old facility, space typically became a problem after New Years, before the annual senior spring break trip, or before school ensemble concerts, Benson, who frequents the gym every day after school, said.

“On packed days you have to wait several minutes to get on the bench because we only have one, so hopefully with a bigger gym with more weights and more setups all the other people will be able to get through their workouts much faster,” Benson said.

Valluzzi believes that the larger quantity of space will allow more students to feel comfortable. “The space in and of itself is going to make things a little less intimidating,” he said.

“ I do think the gym does tend to be very male,” Nikhil Ostrander (12) said. “You rarely see a lot of girls working out in the fitness center relative to the amount of guys in there.”

Valluzzi wants to run workshops to introduce students to the fitness center, he said. “I think once that happens, and girls get in there, and they start to become a little more comfortable with it, word will spread around campus,” he said.

Benson also hopes that the renovations make the gym a more open place so that everyone feels safe working out. “What’s most important is feeling confident and comfortable, and if the new gym can help more people achieve that then I’ll view it as a success,” he said.