New weight room signifies athletic importance on campus

Athletic director Mark Linder cuts the ribbon for the new weight room Sept. 29. “This new facility will allow our teams to create that much needed team chemistry,” he said.

The new athletic weight room will serve as another step toward the transition to Division I and provide a level playing field for UNA with its competitors, said Interim President John Thornell.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new athletic weight room facility took place Sept. 29. The new weight room is a 4,800 square-foot facility and will provide the student-athletes brand new weight equipment as well.

“When we go to D-I we don’t just want to compete, we want to win,” Thornell said. “And giving our student athletes access to top notch training facilities, equipment, and personnel is a key step toward that end.”

Thornell said the weight room is also a statement about the importance of athletics at UNA.

“Our obligation is to serve the best interest of all of our students, including our student-athletes,” he said.

Athletic Director Mark Linder said he believes this new facility will transform the athletic department.

“We believe as we get bigger, faster and stronger we’ll be able to compete at a higher level,” he said.

The previous weight room was a 1,500 square-foot facility and because of the lack of size it would force many of the athletic teams to split the workouts into groups. This problem would hurt the teams’ development in team chemistry, athletic director Mark Linder said.

“This new facility will allow our teams to create that much needed team chemistry,” he said.

Mayor Mickey Haddock said UNA athletics stays dedicated to graduating champions.

“We talk about being successful in academics and you have to do the same thing in athletics,” he said. “(The new weight room) gets us back to the level where we can compete and we can put our athletes in the position to win those championships. And not only win championships but to also graduate champions.”

Board of trustees Vice Chairperson Marty Abrams said the new facility represents an investment of over $800,000, including the value of in-kind contributions and donations.

“The new facility will serve as a daily reminder of our commitment to our student-athletes and coaches that represent the university so well,” he said.