NORTH ANDOVER — The previous weight room at Merrimack College’s Volpe Athletic Complex was so small, now that it’s no longer needed, it has returned to it’s original intent: quite literally, it’s a storage closet.
Last week, the college christened a new 5,000-square-foot facility as part of an expansion that includes a second ice rink, a new entrance and a new sports medicine facility.
The new strength facility is perhaps the crown jewel, though, and a virtual playground for Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Kamal, who is joined by his assistant director, Jim McGuire.
“With the size of this facility, now we have the ability to train all teams, minus football, as one group,” said Kamal. “ The importance of team training is as much psychological as it is physical. Athletes need like-minded athletes to push themselves past the point of what they believe possible. The training environment, with proper attitude and great effort, has the ability to allow anyone to accomplish and attain results that they could never fathom.”
In Merrimack’s old facilities teams struggled to fit inside the tiny quarters, which were placed oddly in the middle of the complex’s lobby. Oftentimes athletes would be spilling out into the lobby for workouts while fans were entering for games.
The previous facility had four half racks and one set of dumbbells. This new home has 10 sets of half racks and custom engraved dumbbells with Merrimack’s logo. It also includes three air-compressor units and drive sleds.
“Pretty much everything in the room has been completely updated,” Kamal said. “The Olympic bars, engraved equipment and custom equipment will do wonders to promote us. The wall pads (emblazoned with Merrimack’s logo), really bring out the room from an imaging standpoint.”
Along with state-of-the-art weight equipment, the facility also houses a 35-yard turf field.