The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 31, 2000


New Fitness Center at Concord-Carlisle High School

The new Fitness Center at Concord-Carlisle High School is filled with students using Nautilus equipment for their work-outs on a recent morning. The Fitness Center, just opened this year, has an assortment of treadmills, stair climbers, bench presses, rowing machines, stationary bicycles and weight training equipment for student use. It was created by combining the old weight room, a dance room and a storage closet in the high school gym. "The old weight room was so archaic it was dangerous and we didn't use it," says Andrea Gillis, Health and Fitness Department Chair.

Dick Kerr, Coordinator of the Fitness Center, developed the facility during a sabbatical last year. Kerr looked to Lincoln-Sudbury High School, and its fitness room created from an old shop facility, for ideas. The equipment was purchased with grants from the Concord Educational Fund and the CCHS Parents' Association and with additional funding from the CCHS Boosters' Club, the Friends of Football and the high school itself.

Fitness Classes

Freshmen receive an introduction to personal fitness and the equipment in the Fitness Center. Sophomores work to develop skills such as speed, agility, reaction time and then do further weight training and strength evaluations. Juniors continue with intensive muscular fitness training. Finally, seniors are given the opportunity to set their own fitness goals in the Senior Wellness Project. (See related article on page 11.)

Treadmills and stair climbers are the most popular equipment and the department hopes to add more of them in the future. Students use work-out cards to record their fitness routines on the equipment. They also use heart rate monitors while using the equipment to learn about the beneficial effects of exercise on their cardiovascular system. A heart rate monitor is attached across the breastbone and a wristwatch monitor displays heart rate information. Classes have a maximum size of 24 students and Gillis says there is almost enough equipment for everyone to use.

Senior Ross Jones of Carlisle started a weight lifting club which now uses the equipment after school. Fitness instructor Kerr stays to help the 30-40 students who come after school to train for upcoming spring sports such as lacrosse, baseball and tennis. Jones says of the new center, "It's like going to a regular gym."

Updated Program

The Health and Fitness department evaluated its curriculum in recent years to see how it fit with the new state fitness curriculum frameworks and with the National Association of Sports and Physical Education standards. Department Chair Andrea Gillis said the school looked to see what standards were covered and in the process determined that teaching the principles of fitness was a primary goal. Five health and fitness teachers focus on health topics and help students to become more adept in athletics.

The program has been brought up-to-date to be meaningful to students, and the department plans to continue to offer new and exciting activities. "We have to figure out creative ways to manage the increasing number of students at the high school, with the same number of facilities," Gillis says.

"I think in the long run, fitness helps kids to plan their schedules better, it helps them to manage their time and be more organized," she said, "because once you leave high school it's not like everything gets easier. You have more commitments, more responsibilities. Where do you fit exercise in?"

Starting in the summer, the Fitness Center may be opened to the community

through Concord-Carlisle Community Education courses. Fees from courses

would help pay for maintenance and for staffing during hours when the school is not in session.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito