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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2011

Weight room addition in Bedford completed

$300,000 project led by nonprofit ready for students

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE -- Nearly seven months after breaking ground, the weight room addition to Bedford High School that was mostly paid through a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant is complete and ready for athletes and health-conscious students.

Bedford School officials will approve documents at Thursday's Board of Education meeting to accept ownership of the 80-by-140-foot addition from Mule Muscle Inc., a nonprofit booster group that supports facilities and athletic equipment for Bedford Public Schools through fund-raising.

The group organized the more than $300,000 building project, including orchestrating the online voting campaign last June to win the Pepsi Refresh top prize.

Work on the addition, just north of the high school gymnasium, began in October and was completed last month.

The nonprofit organization also raised more $50,000 to cover the project costs.

Rebecca Regnier, Mule Muscle president, said proudly last week that not one dime of taxpayer money was used on the state-of-the art facility. "The weight room will be donated free and clear to the district with no debt," she said.

About 50 students spent several hours during Easter break last week moving weight and conditioning equipment from the old smaller weight room into the new addition .

The two-fold plan also involves the Kicking Mules' wrestling team to move into the old weight room, giving them a larger, dedicated place to practice for wrestling.

The team was coached for many years by Mrs. Regnier's father-in-law, Bill Regnier, who retired last year as athletic director.

The wrestling team's current wrestling space is a former locker room.

"This will be the first-ever wrestling room for Bedford Public Schools," she said. "There can be 50 to 60 kids packed into what was a basement locker room. Now they will have their very own room and we can move the weight equipment into an appropriate room."

Mrs. Regnier said football coach Jeff Wood was instrumental in getting the project under way. "We really have Coach Wood to thank for energizing the weight-lifting component for athletic programs across the board. He really emphasizes how important that is," she said.

Although the project cost for the new 4,700-square-foot weight room addition is $300,000, the overall value is much more because of the donated materials and labor that made it possible.

For example, Iron Workers Local 55 volunteered at the beginning to erect the steel, spending several days on the site. Mrs. Regnier said apprentice iron workers who showed up also got on-the-job training.

The project also caught the attention of a Kentucky-based ventilation equipment manufacturer. Mrs. Regnier said the firm, which specializes in oversized, energy-efficient fans, donated two 14-foot blade fan systems to the weight room addition.

"Not only did they donate these amazing fans, they donated the labor to get them installed," she said. "We could never have afforded to purchase these fans. Each one is equal to 36 normal fans. The fact that the company donated these is incredible."

A dedication ceremony will be held in the summer when people and companies involved in the project will be honored and the addition will be named for someone important to Bedford Schools athletics, she said.

With the mission for the weight room accomplished Mule Muscle, Mrs. Regnier said, is moving to its next project -- raising money to buy new weight equipment and renovating the wrestling room.



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