Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 | Progress continues on “The Dutch”, Brophy’s new gym.
Kaleb Lucero ’18
The Harry T. Olivier, SJ Athletic Complex will bring new opportunities for teams and students alike, expanding both intramural programs and team practice sessions with the addition of space and equipment.
According to Brophy President Ms. Adria Renke, the $10-11 million construction of the 46,000 square foot facility began in October of 2015, and is scheduled to be completed in January of next year.
Although the idea for a new gym had been floating around for 20 years, its namesake honors the Rev. Harry T Olivier, SJ, who passed away on March 17, 2015, after having been part of the Brophy community for 28 years.
Fr. Olivier, among one of his many roles, acted as the chaplain for multiple sports teams.
The new gym is meant to continue to support teams, and will allow more consistent practice times, as well as the potential expansion of activities and events, according to volleyball coach Mr. Tony Oldani.
Junior varsity volleyball coach Mr. John Taylor also said that the new gym would help with when teams are able to practice.
“In the past [the junior varsity team] would have to wait for the varsity team to finish … which would push our practice later into the evening,” he said. “With the advent of the second gym, it’s possible to have both of our teams practicing simultaneously.”
Ms. Renke also expressed her concern for teams’ schedules, citing the commute of many students as a need to make teams’ practice schedules more manageable.
“If you’re a freshman from Surprise, and you’re on the basketball team, you’ve got to be here by 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning to get to practice because that’s the only gym time we have with the one gym,” she said.
“Now with two gyms they can have their practice at a reasonable time and not have to get up in the middle of the night.”
Ms. Renke said the competitions and games will still be in the old gym, so the new gym will have plenty of space for team practices and individual workouts to coincide at the same time.
“This gym, I think, is going to be used by much more of the student body,” she said.
Ms. Renke said she thinks that not only will many individuals use this facility, but it will actually attract students who have “never done any strength training or conditioning” to hang out there.
The style of the gym is very accessible, and students can simply go in for a workout in the morning or after school.
“I think every kid in the school is going to end up using it,” Ms. Renke said.
The facility is supposed to be modern and user friendly, with weights and aerobic equipment spread all throughout the complex.
On the top floor, the two classrooms will have a collapsible wall where teams can gather to watch films, and will also feature a two-lane indoor running track with a circumference of 1/10 of a mile.
“A running track in this heat makes sense,” Ms. Renke said. “It will probably be one of the number one things to be used.”
The main floor will accommodate basketball and volleyball, and will have a machine to practice shooting, film yourself and work on form.
However, the main floor also houses new treadmills and elypticals, which Ms. Renke hopes students will take advantage of.
The basement, which will focus heavily on weight training, will use mostly new equipment, but will also have some of the weights from the Loyola Hall basement that are still in good condition.
“We need more weights,” Ms. Renke said. “We want to be able to have enough equipment for everybody.”
Drew Dyer ’18, who plays on the baseball team, says he can see the team using the weights for training.
“I would definitely say I’m most excited for the new weight room,” he said. “I think it’ll be great to have a much bigger space for more than one team to work out in.”
Mr. Oldani also said that he looks forward to using the weight room for the volleyball team.
“I’m excited about the weight room being right off the court, so we can hopefully take advantage of the proximity to our practice,” he said.
Ms. Renke said there is also going to be golf software, which will be somewhere on the third floor.
“We never had anything for the golfers on campus,” she said. “[Now] we have a golf spot, and it has a software program that you can set onto a specific course. You can practice your driving, your chipping and your putting, and everyone will be able to use it.”
With all this new equipment and space, Ms. Renke said she expects to see the intermural program expand, and hopes to see PE classes take advantage of the new options that the athletic facility offers.
Dyer said that he plays pick-up basketball with his friends in the current gym, and that he would appreciate the extra space for students involved in those activities.
The new gym could also add options for entirely new teams.
Mr. Taylor said that currently the volleyball program only has a junior varsity and a varsity team, and he and Mr. Oldani see the need to add a freshman team in order to have a larger pool of people actively improving their skills.
Mr. Taylor said that having more teams allows them to track more people, as well as allowing students to train and compete at different stages of development.
“The second gym opens up the possibility to have a freshman team, strengthening our team and our ability to compete across the valley,” he said.
Mr. Oldani also said that it allows the school to experiment with new events unrelated to sports, an example of such being dances that would be concurrent with the usual ones in the Harper Great Hall.