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Private Gifts Support Partnership for Weight Room Renovation

renovated weight room rendering

Eastern Kentucky University athletics has announced a partnership with Life Fitness to remodel the department’s weight room. With the support of Life Fitness and a private donation by Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel, the dramatically expanded and renovated first-class strength and conditioning facility will serve all 17 varsity sports and more than 300 student-athletes.

The renovation is expected to be completed near the start of the 2017 spring semester.

The new facility will feature Hammer Strength brand equipment from Life Fitness. Hammer Strength is rugged performance strength training equipment that takes what athletes dish out and helps exercisers get to where they strive to be. Hammer Strength moves the way the body is meant to move and rewards hard work with results. Results that elite athletes have been relying on for nearly three decades.

“This is going to be one of the premier facilities in the country,” EKU Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller said. “I really enjoyed working with Life Fitness to bring this to reality. The process of working through equipment selection and design with Life Fitness will bring to life a facility that will give EKU student-athletes a first-class strength and conditioning experience. We are excited to work with a company that has a long history of outfitting some of the finest athletics facilities in the country. With the help of Life Fitness, we fully expect our facility to rival any to date.”

The complete production process of Hammer Strength equipment is done at its facility in Falmouth, Kentucky, less than an hour and a half from the Eastern Kentucky University campus. EKU’s new weight room will be a showcase facility for Hammer Strength. The company will bring clients to campus to tour and demonstrate the equipment. Hammer Strength will also hold clinics at this showcase facility.

“The entire Hammer Strength team is thrilled to be a part of this national showcase facility located just down the road from Falmouth, Kentucky, the proud home of Hammer Strength for nearly 30 years,” said Hammer Strength National Athletics Manager Lon Record.

The project would not be possible without the generosity of Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel. The Noels, of Union, Kentucky, whose previous donations made possible the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and the Noel Reading Porch, have generously pledged an additional $1 million to EKU.

The majority of their gift will help establish the Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel Research Endowment, a $600,000 fund that will support faculty and student research at the University across a variety of academic areas and disciplines. In addition, $400,000 will be used for this strength and conditioning renovation. Mr. Noel played baseball for three years at Eastern.

The scope of the project is impressive. The facility will include 20 platforms, 20 racks, 720 pounds of weight per platform, black polyurethane bumpers, four bikes, two treadmills, two ellipticals, four jammers, four iso lunge machines, two leg presses and four vertical leg curl machines. The facility is expected to have 90 pairs of dumbbells, more than any other school in the nation. In addition, a 10-yard wide by 30-yard long artificial turf field will be housed inside the new weight room. This area will allow for warm-ups, sprints, agility training and polymetrics.

“It’s everything we want as far as the training aspect,” EKU Director of Strength and Conditioning Jon-Michael Davis said. “With the platforms, the bars and the machines, there’s nothing we won’t have through Hammer Strength. Every need is addressed. Whether it’s based upon a sport, based upon an injury or based on training maturity, we will have access to everything to help a student-athlete. The look is going to be really nice. There is definitely a wow factor which will aid in recruiting as well.”

The weight area will stand on Mondo flooring. The durable, anti-bacterial flooring will maintain a clean look. For added safety, the platforms will be part of the floor, meaning no stepping onto or off the platforms. The floor is soft enough to run on, but strong enough to withstand the impact of dropping weight. For further safety, water, sweat and spills will not seep into the flooring and can be wiped dry quickly.

“We will be able to train more efficiently,” said Davis. “We will have more area, which makes it easier for the student-athletes in regards to time. It gives us a place, all in one room, to get everything done. There’s no transition. The multi-purpose surface allows us to use the weight anywhere. We can get kids in and out quicker.”


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