LYNNFIELD — There are 77 shopping days until Christmas. But a present has already been selected for Lynnfield High School students and faculty.
When the school reopens after the holiday break, the facility’s two fitness centers are expected to be renovated.
On Monday night, the Board of Selectmen approved spending $100,000 to purchase new equipment, add new lighting, and brighten the 1,300- and 682-square foot workout rooms.
“Only 20 percent of the equipment works and it’s a much-needed and much-appreciated renovation,” said Jane Tremblay, superintendent of schools. “It’s been in need of rejuvenation for a few years. It will be for everyone in the school to use.”
Town Administrator Robert Dolan said while there are a few free weights that are usable, many of the cardio equipment hasn’t worked in years.
He stressed the restored fitness rooms are for everyone’s use.
“We are not building a new weight room for the football team,” he said. “We are building a fitness for every boy and girl at Lynnfield High School.”
At a time of social-emotional challenges for many youngsters, he said health and fitness can play a key role in keeping kids healthy in the fitness space supervised by adults.
“Our hope is to expand the uses to include after school and summer programs,” he said. “We know our young students don’t have many options in Lynnfield for gyms. Most 14, 15, and 16-year-olds are not welcome at local fitness centers. This gives us an incredible opportunity and it will rival a Division 1/NFL weight room.”
While Dolan does not typically take such a key role in advocating for Lynnfield to spend money, he said the upgrade will allow physical education teachers, sports program, and intramural directors to incorporate the new rooms into their curriculum.
“I don’t usually editorialize, but this is a really good thing,” he said. “It teaches something students can do for the rest of their lives.”
The $100,000 will come from the town’s “free cash,” Dolan said, which has a balance of nearly $3 million. The one-time expenditure must be approved by Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21.
John Tomasz, director of Public Works, said once voters approve the project, work will begin immediately in the afternoons, on weekends, and Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday break.
“It will take 10 days to get the room done and all the new equipment installed,” he said. “But a ribbon-cutting can be expected after New Year’s Day.”