Sherman Oaks Notre Dame unveils new weight training facility

Eric Sondheimer
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The first steps you take walking into the new Donahue Family Fitness Center attached to the gym at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High, you want to say, "Wow."

Then there's the smell from $300,000 worth of new equipment.

"It does smell like a new car," strength and conditioning coach Nick Garcia said.

There's 18 racks and platforms for lifting loaded with the most modern equipment on the market. Soon there will be iPads at each station so that students can check in and monitor their progress. Three flatscreen TVs will be visible on the walls, along with a sound system. Outside, there's a warmup area to throw around medicine balls.

Yes, it's a big step up, particularly for football coach/athletic director Kevin Rooney, who's been around for 36 years.

"It's awesome," said Rooney, who confirmed he will be back for a 37th season as head coach.

He also gets a new office in a facility that includes a conference room and offices for others. The football stadium will also get new all-weather turf in another year and probably an upgraded scoreboard.

But it's in the fitness center where the real work takes place. Schools around the Southland have been pouring in money and resources to create environments to make sure motivated student-athletes can reach their potential.

"It just gives all our athletes and students a better opportunity to develop their strength, power and explosiveness," Rooney said.

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