The metal plates are rusted and chipped. The grips are worn down on the barbells. Only a third of the football team fits inside at one time.
After three years of no purchases, officials say they are spending thousands of dollars this semester to upgrade equipment in the weight room used by all athletes. Football players say the poor condition and spacing of the Strength Lab is still insufficient for training top-tier teams.
“It lacks a lot of space. We’re unable to get the whole football team in there. That’s [probably] the same for a lot of other sports,” said defensive back Aden Eckenwiler.
Interim Dean of Kinesiology Courtney Doussett said that her department replaced the leather on some machine seats a few weeks ago, and will be purchasing a new set of free weights from Rogue Fitness by the end of the month.
“The goal is to buy a dozen new barbells, with a few extra bars that have closer grips,” she said.
In addition, Doussett wants to purchase new dumbbells up to 160 pounds and a brand new rack of kettlebells.
Amidst criticism over the rusted plates, they’ll be purchasing bumper plates. Bumper plates don’t chip or rust, and are much more flexible for complex movements.
The total order is expected to cost between $6,000 and $8,000.
The Kinesiology Department’s goal is to make improvements on a per-semester basis. Each semester there would be a re-evaluation of the needs in the weight room and surrounding areas.
“It’ll look better next semester,” Doussett said.
Still, the new equipment can’t come soon enough for football players, especially those who are used to training at other local schools.
Linebacker Matt Wann said that the weight room at his old high school was twice the size of the weight room at SAC.
“We can only fit a third of our team in [the weight room] at a time. So, the majority of the team haven’t been going in all season,” said Wann. “A lot of the bars are rusty and the grips are worn down as well.”
Running back William Sullivan Jr. attended Orange Coast College and said that SAC’s weight room is less spacious.
“I feel like Santa Ana’s behind…everything seems really outdated,” he said.
Doussett acknowledges that the weight room needs more updates, but the funding process is more complex than many students realize.
“We’re not going to be O.C.C., nor do we want to,” Doussett said.
Every year, funds get distributed amongst the teams. Each team then manages their own budget, paying for tournaments, food, travel expenses, uniforms, and athletic trainers. There typically isn’t a surplus for the Kinesiology Department overall, so the money they use to improve the facilities comes from alumni, Santa Ana College Foundation donors, and the instructional school budget.
“There’s not a huge budget,” Doussett said. “Every decision to build or do something with these funds still needs to be approved through the school, so it’s a long process.”