“Let’s get swole!”
That’s the newest slang term for pumping iron. And pumping up your muscles – getting them swollen – has gotten a lot easier for Culver Academies students thanks to a special gift from the W. Jay Wilkinson family. Wilkinson, whose children are Samantha ’12 and Alex ’14, was the major donor behind the complete renovation of the E.C. “Cuba” Smith Weight Room in the Steinbrenner Recreation Center. John NB’64 and Carol Zeglis also contributed to the renovation.
Nicknamed “The Wilk” in the family’s honor, the weight room reopening was conducted on Tuesday. The Wilk will be used for strength and conditioning workouts by athletic teams. It will also be available for general faculty, staff, and student use. Approximately 200 students, faculty and staff attended the reopening and toured the facility.
Strength and conditioning coach Ashley Paulson ’06 said the equipment is identical to what is being used in collegiate weight rooms across the country. The room features five squat racks with Olympic lifting platforms built into the floor. The multi-purpose racks can also be used for bench presses, pull-ups, dead lifts, and dips, she added.
Other equipment includes pulley machines for working specific body parts, incline benches, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, agility balls, power bands, and jump ropes. The room is covered with a special non-skid surface and has a state-of-the-art sound system.
Wilkinson, who was also the major donor for “The Wilk” performance center at Indiana University, said the motivation behind his Culver gift was the same as it was at IU. The weight room will benefit all the student-athletes, not just a specific team. Helping as many students as possible “was instrumental,” he said. “That’s what sold it for me.”
Fitness Center Director Dana Neer said the completion of The Wilk complements the recent renovation of the Siegfried Fitness Center, which was funded by Julius W. Hegeler W’39, and the hiring of Paulson in the Wellness Department.
He also thanked the many different departments – facilities, custodial, communications, technology, and athletics – that assisted in preparing the room for the renovation, removing the old equipment, installing the sound system, and design of the room mural.