By: Danny Mooers; Assistant Sports Information Director
Some saw it as a passion project and others saw it as a recruiting tool, but all knew it was a necessity. The new Dordt Athletics weight room has already made its mark on the college one month since it’s been open.
“It’s something that our athletes have taken pride in,” said Kyle Lindbergh, the men’s basketball assistant coach and athletics gift officer. “They appreciate the fact that the college has made the investment into bettering their programs.”
The possibility of a new weight room came about in the fall with the local gymnastics program set to move out of the space. Administration set a goal to have the weight room fully functional by the start of the 2019 Spring Semester. Fundraising efforts began in early November and needed to be complete by December 1.
Lindbergh and the rest of the athletic department set out to raise the $100,000 needed to outfit the new space. The fundraiser only had to be extended one week before enough funds were available to get going.
The money went towards six new racks, flooring, a projector, two new sets of dumbbells along with other training equipment.
Kyle Van Wyk, the Dordt performance coach, had the responsibility of creating the layout and worked to take advantage of the extra 800 square feet.
“In the old weight room there wasn’t any space,” he said. “We were always congested. I wanted to be efficient with the new space and make sure it was a noticeable upgrade from what we had.”
Those improvements did not mean Van Wyk had the luxury of purchasing all new equipment. Several of the racks and one set of dumbbells were taken from the old weight room. Being “stewardly” with the money that was fundraised was one of his priorities.
One of the other main goals with the layout was to showcase Dordt colors. There are only a few spots throughout the recreation center that the Dordt brand is emphasized. The big Defender logo along the indoor track and the mural outside of the DeWitt are two of the most noticeable areas.
Take a walk in the new weight room and it’s obvious that it belongs to Dordt. The floor is a mix of black, gold and white with the Defender logo placed right under the racks. There are large pictures of athletes up on the walls. The Defender Way coordinates will be added in the near future.
“I’ve gotten a lot of comments that this new space truly feels like a collegiate weight room,” Van Wyk says. “I want to make sure it stays that way and the space is respected.”
Coaches anticipate the weight room will positively contribute to their recruiting process. With the previous space, recruits would come and see community members mixed in with athletes and notice how cramped it could be. Facilities are key for landing top recruits and an athletes only weight room is a necessity.
The weight room can only be accessed by Dordt coaches. Each team has times scheduled throughout the day that the weight room is reserved for them. The packed schedule means that the teams have to make sure they leave it clean.
Van Wyk, who is a bit OCD at heart, demands this of the athletes.
“At any point a recruit could walk in,” he says. “I like to ask the current athletes what they would rather see on a recruit trip. A weight room looking uniform and organized? Or a weight room with dumbbells on the floor, disorganized benches and looking sloppy. The answer is pretty obvious.”
Now, the old weight room has room for the non-athletes and community members. It’s an obvious difference and improvement from the way things used to be.
Many people made it possible for the weight room to come together over Christmas break. This included the 86 donors, the Dordt Marketing Department, the Athletic Department, and those who helped move equipment.
“We’re really thankful for everyone who made this happen,” Lindbergh said. “We’re thankful for the donors support and their efforts to make this possible. If they’re ever around, they should be sure to take a look at it and see what a difference it makes for Dordt athletics.”