UNA’s new weight room provides athletic department upgrade

Previously, UNA’s athletes have been confined to a cramped, 1,500 square-foot weight room, but this fall the Lions upgraded to a brand new, 4,800 square-foot workout facility.

This new weight room, located directly at the back of Flowers Hall behind Hal Self field house, cost approximately $700,000 total. The facility will be equipped with new weight equipment, electronics and four big screen monitors.

UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder said he is proud of the new facility and seeing student athletes working out in a state-of-the-art weight room. For Linder, this project was a long time coming.

“When I came here and saw the weight room seven years ago, I knew we had to do something,” Linder said. “It took us a while to secure funding, and the design phase took a while. This (weight room) is the accumulation of quite a few years.”

Several athletes said they are proud and excited about the new weight room.

“I’m beyond excited,” said football running back Diamond Simmons. “To win championships, it all starts in the weight room. Having this new weight room will help us beyond measure.”

Construction of the new weight room was part of UNA’s process to move up to the Division I ranks, Linder said.

“We knew that the weight room had to be upgraded,” Linder said. “It’s definitely a part of the Division I transition process.”

Football coach Bobby Wallace said the weight room is where players will be spending their time and could pull in future athletes.

“I think the weight room will be a tremendous asset in recruiting,” said football coach Bobby Wallace. “A weight room is one of the biggest factors in facilities for a prospect. Most players are going to spend some time in the weight room year-round.”

Athletes used to be forced to split their workouts into groups in the old weight room, but in the upgraded facility, most teams will be able to complete their workouts in one session.

“You can measure a player’s talent and you can measure a coach’s ability, but you can’t really measure team chemistry until you get on the field,” Wallace said. “Hopefully this new facility will help with that.”

Linder said an abundance of changes are coming, but will occur as a domino effect.

“The old weight room will be turned into meeting rooms, and once we do that, we’ll turn the meeting rooms [below Flowers Hall] into new varsity locker rooms.”

Wallace said the new facility will hopefully create a ‘wow’ factor when someone walks into it.

“It shows the commitment the university has towards athletics — not just to football, but to all sports,” he said.