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By Rebecca Kensil, Editor

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A few years ago, the Clocker Club’s former president, Al Klein, and vice president, Rob Leone, noticed the Ashland High School weight room was cramped and outdated. It was a small space with cardio machines and weights. Now, thanks to the all-sports booster club’s fundraising efforts, community involvement, and volunteer work, the weight room is expanded and refurbished.

The project began with Klein’s idea to expand the fitness center using two additional storage rooms in the back of the gymnasium. The idea grew from there.

Leone and Tim Connors, project lead, discussed creating a free weight room and cardiovascular area. They thought that student treadmill users would feel more comfortable in a separate room. This new space, equipped with windows, would also allow educators to keep an eye on students riding on the treadmills in lieu of gym class. In addition, the center would provide a place for teams to tailor specific programs for their workouts. Wellness teachers could use it for classes, such as aerobics.

“The gym wasn’t really befitting of the new [athletic] facilities over there,” Connors stated. “Ashland High School, right now, all the facilities are fantastic. The football field for example. It made more sense to do this weight room that matched the existing facilities.”

To start the project, the club built a budget. They raised money through their yearly fundraisers: a pancake breakfast on Super Bowl Sunday and a golf tournament. Last year, they also hosted a yard sale. The concession stands and the campus store also brought in funds for the project.

While the club had to buy some materials, local businesses donated much of the labor and materials. Helpers included Jamie Merloni of the New England Laborers' Training Center, Silton Glass, Ashland Lumber Company, and Vinny Hanrahan of Hanrahan Remodeling. Clocker Club members also volunteered their time.

The group of volunteers cut windows into the high school walls, installed new floor mats, and painted the wall with school colors. The school logo, painted big and bold, now decorates the wall.

“It was a labor of love for the members of the Clocker Club,” Connors said.

The Clocker Club cut the ribbon on Nov. 4 for the new $30,000 fitness center. A total of 25 people attended the ceremony, including the principal, athletic director, superintendent of schools, and numerous community members. Connors, master of ceremonies, introduced Klein, who then explained the idea and the history of the booster club. Then Leone thanked all who were involved.

The Clocker Club has no new projects yet, but they will raise funds for their next one. However, Connors noted a few potential projects: a ticket booth for the football field and a sign on the concession stand on the high school field. Recently, the club purchased a mat light for the wrestling team. It spotlights the mat, drawing attention to the event.

What projects would you like the Clocker Club to do next? To find out more about the Clocker Club, go to www.clockerclub.org.

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