BVH renovates weight room after approximately 50 years

Several+new+pieces+of+equipment+have+been+added+to+the+Bonita+Vista+High+weight+room.+These+includes+weights+of+different+kinds+and+mats+labeled+%22BV%22.+

Photo sourced from BVH football twitter

Several new pieces of equipment have been added to the Bonita Vista High weight room. These includes weights of different kinds and mats labeled “BV”.

Melina Ramirez, Arts & Culture Editor

Fresh into 2021, Bonita Vista Highs (BVH) weight room saw a long overdue makeover. Prior to its makeover, students dealt with holes in benches, a lack of cleanliness and an unrecognizable stench. Thankfully, with the recent renovations and new equipment, students have been presented with the new state of the art weight room. 

In November of 2019, Bonita Vista High (BVH) English 12 teacher Carmen Ramirez-Stokes received an email from Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., saying that BVH had been one of the schools selected to receive the Chargers Champions School Grant. Having applied for the grant earlier that year, a long process ensured BVH a 67,500 dollar grant to improve the school’s weight room equipment. On Feb. 12, 2021, the BVH football Instagram account revealed their new state-of-the-art weight room.

As for Ramirez-Stokes’ involvement in the project, she was originally approached by Former varsity Football Head coach Sam Kirkland.

“Coach Sam was the actual initiator of the whole grant. He and I would work together since a lot of his football players had to pass my English class,” Ramirez-Stokes said. “I used to help him out a lot with any type of tutoring and one day he approached me and said ‘Hey, do you mind writing this grant for a new weight room. ” 

Despite her hesitance from inexperience in grant writing, Ramirez-Stokes agreed to write it if she had a template to model it after. Kirkland and Ramirez-Stokes then approached Del Rosario for support and soon received a template from Sweetwater High, who had received the Chargers Grant in the past. 

The grant itself required specific information about BVH’s demographics, socioeconomic background and predicted costs for the new equipment. Ramirez-Stokes also wrote a mission statement, the vision for the new weight room and answered the question, “How will this weight room be accessible for all students?” Photo attachments of the weight room were required to show the state of the weight room. 

“The final draft was about six or seven pages long. Grants – especially if you’re going to get 70,000 [dollars] – are very specific. [The grant] was sectioned out, there was no word count, but I tried to put as much information as I possibly could within those requirements,” Ramirez-Stokes said.

Del Rosario and Kirkland had their own printed copies and the original was sent in a manila envelope with the attached photos. Even though they were later selected for the grant, that did not mean they had officially received it. The Director of Community Outreach from the Chargers came to BVH in February of 2020 before quarantine began to look over the weight room and determine the extent to which BVH needed the grant. 

“The Chargers representative was looking for need. How was the condition of the equipment? How old it was, how usable it was, what was going to be put in there to replace it? What was your grand vision for this money?” Athletic Director and Football coach Tyler Arciaga said. 

Shortly after the representative evaluated BVH, Del Rosario was notified that the school would be receiving almost 70,000 dollars for new weight room equipment. Arciaga joined the project halfway through during the evaluation process and was in charge of collaborating with the equipment vendor to create different floor layouts. There were seven floor plans, and one was chosen based on cost and effectiveness. 

While 67,500 dollars may seem like an excessive amount of money for equipment, Arciaga explained how commercial grade equipment is more expensive because of its higher quality. BVH also had to pay for all the equipment to be installed by the vendor, so shipping and installment were an addition to the costs. Arciaga estimated the equipment alone being worth 52,000 to 55,000 dollars. 

“[For] everybody who uses it, I’m sure they’re pretty excited,” Ramirez-Stokes said. “It was nice to hear [that we got the grant] because that was the first grant I had ever written. It was cool to write a grant and then actually get the money for it.”

Ramirez-Stokes mentioned how she wished that Kirkland would have been able to see it. Kirkland left BVH on Feb. 24, 2020, in the middle of the process to receive the Charger Grant. Ramirez-Stokes was also saddened by the fact that this year’s seniors would not get the chance to try out the new weight room. The weight room was meant to be ready for them, however the pandemic and distance learning dramatically slowed the process. 

Senior and varsity football player Justin Locke found out about the new weight room a couple of weeks after it was finished from an email sent by his football coach. While football players have begun their practices, they most likely will not get to try out the weight room.

“We hope to [use the weight room] but we probably won’t because our season has been cut down to only four games,” Locke said. “It sucks but there’s nothing I can do about it. At least the school will have it for the years after me.” 

Once the weight room opens, Arciaga foresees Physical Education (PE) classes, BVH sports teams and other athletic teens will use the weight room the most. While Ramirez-Stokes thinks that the new weight room will maximize a student’s work out, Arciaga said that it will offer a new environment for students.

It’s a sense of pride for these folks and for the students, and I hope and trust that them and the coaches will take care of it. ”

— Athletic Director Tyler Arciaga

“I think it’s a sense of pride. I went to BVH and graduated 20 years ago and a lot of that equipment was in there when I was there and it was old then. It’s a sense of pride for these folks and for the students, and I hope and trust that them and the coaches will take care of it,” Arciaga said. “Because this isn’t going to happen again, we all need to do our part as coaches to supervise and ask kids to take care of it.”

Ramirez-Stokes estimated that the weight room had not been renewed in the last 50 years since BVH opened. Some new equipment was added a couple of years ago that Southwestern College donated, but this is the first time in approximately 50 years that the weight room had been renovated. 

“I’m excited for it. I’m excited for the students and for the coaches and for the PE teachers that are going to be in there. I think anytime you make a capital improvement like that, it should be a source of pride. I’m encouraged that the students at Bonita will take care of it,” Arciaga said. 

 

This piece was updated on April 27, 2021.