Fundraising begins in earnest for high school fitness center’s new equipment

Students crowd the fitness center March 4 at Niskayuna High School for a lifting competiton. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)Students crowd the fitness center March 4 at Niskayuna High School for a lifting competiton. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA — Back in March, Athletic Director Larry Gillooley described a vision for a new-look fitness center at Niskayuna High School.

Now, fundraising for that $80,000 project is starting to take shape. Through this morning, the project’s funding webpage — gofundme.com/niskyfitness — had received $1,550 in donations from seven donors.

“We’ve already received a few donations,” Gillooley said. “That’s without word really getting out yet.”

John Moskov, a teacher at the high school, helped start the process of reaching out to potential donors in bulk. Grants have been applied for, and a letter explaining the project and how people can donate is being drafted.

“We’re trying to get it out to the community on a larger scale,” he said. “Even if you don’t have kids in school right now, it’s going to benefit your kids when they get here. Any kid currently living in this community will benefit from this project.”

Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooley is shown during halftime of the Class A state championship in Vestal on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooley is shown during halftime of the Class A state championship in Vestal on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

The bulk of equipment currently in the high school’s fitness center was purchased in 2003 and has lasted for a full cycle of the district’s students. While the fitness center is busy before and after school hours with athletes from sports teams, students filter in throughout the day as part of the school’s physical education program.

In a two-day period, Gillooley said there are 18 classes of 35 students apiece that use the fitness center as their physical-education elective. That’s great, Moskov said, but the current fitness center’s equipment and setup was not designed for such use, old-school weight sets taking up too much storage space in the room.

The new-look fitness center will have more free-range equipment, plus less-cumbersome weight training sets. At present, the fitness center has a handful of bulky weight sets; in the new design, a dozen smaller weight sets will line up back to back in rows of six in the same space.

“We don’t want stuff that’s outdated,” Moskov said. “We want to keep up with the trends.”

Other amenities, such as a TV capable of leading aerobics and yoga sessions, are also planned for the facility.

Originally, the hope had been for the $80,000 to be raised by the end of the summer to allow for the equipment to be in use by the start of the 2015-16 school year. That may have been too optimistic, Gillooley said, but the plan is still for next school year’s seniors to have a chance to use the refurbished fitness center.

“We’ll start putting in the equipment as soon we can get it,” he said.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.