Weight room evolves over time


artist's rendering

The new two-story Panther Fitness Center is a state of the art facility that can handle several teams’ workouts at the same time.

Elder High School’s weight room has gone through many phases throughout the years.

It has not always been the state-of-the-art facility that we know today. But the gradual flow of improvement to the best that it can be signifies exactly what Elder is all about, Altiora.

With every upgrade in training facility, life got much easier for the students and the faculty. More students can get in, and the coaches have more equipment, space, and time to work with. Since 1922, Elder has advanced in its numbers and facilities. The fitness centers over the years are a prime example of that growth.

The first Elder weight room to date was in the wrestling/volleyball gym. Elder students today have no recollection of this as the weight room is long gone from there. It was not even a room necessarily. All the equipment was sectioned off to one small area. It was difficult for many of the students to get in there, but they worked with what they had. Again, most people at Elder today do not remember this even existing. The wrestling/volleyball gym, which is currently wrapping up renovations, is still in use today.

The next stop for the weight room was in the historic Donohoe Center. In the early years of Elder, the Donohoe Center was the original fieldhouse. But as the years rolled on, Elder moved their weight room into it. This was the beginning of the Elder strength and conditioning program that we know today.

The Donohoe Center was built just to the south west of the main campus building and was used as the gymnasium before it became the weight room and now the home to the Elder Spirit Store. (Cincinnati Museum Center website)

It was a great establishment and allowed more students to get more organized workouts in as a team. I was given the opportunity to be in there the spring/summer of my seventh-grade year for strength and conditioning camp (2018). It was a great experience and an even better place to improve yourself.

But as it is repeated throughout history, Elder outgrew it. So many more students wanted to come be a part of the program; more space was needed. Thankfully with the help of donors, most notably Kyle Rudolph from the class of ‘08, Elder was able to satisfy that need in 2019.

The modern Elder weight room that the world knows today is the Panther Fitness Center. A two-story building that consists of 20,000 square feet. Opened in 2019, it offers the new generation of Elder students a safe and efficient place to train. The new increased performance standards have allowed many student-athletes to excel on the field and in the classroom. It’s very easy to find space and time to get in and out, allowing for more time to work on schoolwork or a specific sport. The truth is, even with all the new technology and equipment, it would all be worth nothing without the terrific leadership that Elder strength and conditioning has to offer. The head strength and conditioning coach, Coach Adam Rankin, continues to run an excellent program at the PFC today. He is supported by assistant strength and conditioning coach, Coach Alex Merkel.

Elder’s Panther Fitness Center (Elder archives)

The advancement of Elder’s facilities define exactly why Elder is so great. Most of these facilities are funded by Elder alumni. People understand how much Elder has done for them in their life and feel that it is necessary to give back. Therefore, more students have better experiences at Elder, and it causes a cycle of that will be repeated for generations.

Just the one example of the history of Elder’s weight room proves this to be true. From the sectioned off area in the wrestling/volleyball gym to the trailblazing Panther Fitness Center. At Elder, you are motivated to give it your all whether it is in the classroom, field, or anywhere. This is represented in the slogan that shines high on the PFC: What I Had I Gave, What I Saved I Lost.