Goppert Renovations: Out With the Old, In With the New

Renovations on the Goppert center, usher in a new period of STA athletics.


Maggie Hart

Junior Maura Kugler, left, and Trang Nguyen eat a snack before their cross country practice Aug. 30. The team meets in the weight room for a pre-practice meeting. photo by Maggie Hart

When you walk through the Goppert Center’s new doors, one can immediately sense STA’s history of athletic tradition. The first set of walls are adorned with pictures featuring notable athletes. Students can spot photos of teams from the 1950’s to the recognizable faces of recent alumnae. Generations of athletes have participated in STA’s sports. The renovations to Goppert mark the ushering in of a new and exciting period in STA’s long line of history.

With fall sports in full swing, athletes are enjoying the benefits of the new renovations. The renovations geared toward athletics, such as new locker rooms and a new weight room, focused on providing more space for the athletes. According to athletic director Tyler Abney, “STA now has one of the best [athletic] facilities in the region.”

The gym’s weight room has come a long way since Abney’s first year working at STA. It used to be what is now the gym’s storage room. Before, the room consisted of a square weightlifting bench, along with a couple of treadmills and exercise bikes. The weight room now consists of a wide variety of workout machines, including multiple bench presses and rowing machines.

Students and athletes alike have been given the opportunity to use the weight room during their frees and activity period. In order to properly handle and care for the workout equipment, those students had go through a certification process regarding safety.

“I hope to use the workout room during my frees,” junior Annabel Valenti said. “I think my progress will show up in my cross country races and the upcoming track season.”  

Starting Sept. 11,  STA will be offering sports performance from 6-7:15 a.m. and 3:30-4:45 p.m. Abney hopes that the new facilities will push girls to use the weight room to improving on strength and conditioning.

“State championships are always the goal, right?” Abney said “Whether that happens because of the new facilities who knows. It will definitely aid in getting you guys there. But at the end of the day if you are not utilizing it, it’s a lost cause.”

Along with the new renovations came a new set of rules. An email from administration was sent to coaches and athletes at the beginning of the Fall sports season. It clearly stated the rules regarding the procedure for entering and exiting Goppert.

“[The staff] will be strictly enforcing the entry/exit system for Goppert. Please let your student-athletes know, if they do not follow the directions below they will receive SBRs.”

Volleyball players enter and exit Goppert through the main doors in the quad. Outside sport athletes, from cross-country, golf, softball and tennis teams, only enter and exit Goppert through the back door of the outside locker room. If an outdoor athlete needs to see athletic trainer Lisa Gross, they must exit the building and walk around to her glass doors. Inside athletes must walk through the gym to the main door.

In previous years, various sports were given designated areas around the school’s campus to meet and change for practice. Last year cross country met in the cafeteria. Those athletes would change in the open cafeteria, then use M&A’s restrooms before heading out to run.

“We have waited so long and finally there’s a place for us to change and use the restroom,” senior and cross-country runner Cece Curran said. “But, there are only four stalls for 50 plus girls, when ten steps away there are six more.”

The new policies also raise safety concerns. To avoid being locked out, athletes have begun to prop doors open. There is no keypad to the entry and exit point for outside athletes and the door will automatically lock. While athletes are getting ready for practice, the door to the outside athletes locker room can often be found propped open with various objects.

“It doesn’t make sense that we can’t walk ten steps to get to the water fountain or to change because there’s so many of us,” Curran said. “Four stalls is not a sufficient amount of space. I understand that everyone needs their space, and no one wants to be interrupted but that includes us. The gym should also be our area that we are allowed to walk through as long as we’re not being disruptive” Cece said.

Abney attributes the new rules to the fact that STA is trying to, “keep the longevity of the gym floor.” At any time after school, the gym has to accommodate 150 plus athletes. Many times mud is dragged in, causing scratches and wearing down the finish of the gym floor. “[The policy],” not only “aids in preserving the gym floor, it helps with the congestion of athletes entering and exiting the building,” Abney said.

Many athletes are wondering when the rules will be revised. Abney says, “[The administration] is giving it [the rules] a try. [Administration] has some things in the works, while talking to coaches to see what the best plan is for everyone.”