New Peekskill H.S. Fitness Center For Students, Staff

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The new Jason C. Paige Fitness Center will be open to students and staff only.
The new Jason C. Paige Fitness Center will be open to students and staff only. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The new Jason C. Paige fitness center will not be open to the public, at least not any time soon.

The new center, which was unveiled Tuesday prior to the board of education meeting, replaces outdated equipment and fitness machines and is intended to help student-athletes compete with other neighboring schools. It was paid for mostly through private donations.

Superintendent James Willis said while the center was built for students, it could be open to the school's staff or even the public but there would be liability and practicality issues that would have to be worked out first in the case of the latter.

Board of education members agreed the center should be open only to students and staff for the time being due to cost and liability issues.

"If the school's going to be open, I would love to see that open, but when everyone's gone, we don't need to hire extra people for it to stay open late hours just for that," said trustee Doug Glickert. 

Board president Joseph Urbanowicz said keeping the center open after school for the public would create too many issues for the district.

"As much as I think it would be a nice thing for it to be open to the community, I just think there are too many issues that we could be involved with," Urbanowicz said.

McDonald, the brother of the late Jason Paige, agreed the facility should only be open to students and staff for the time being but was open to other ideas down the road.

"I think it would be difficult to open it up (to the public) only because our current staff is already working on one too many things," McDonald said. "However, what I would like to see is maybe a joint venture with parks and recreation where they could offer a training program and at least it would be organized."

Hours of operation and rules for the new facility will be announced in the coming weeks.

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With all the financial problems that Peekskill taxpayers face, was it really necessary to build another fitness center? And why is there always such a huge emphasis on sports and athletics? Maybe the district bureaucrats could have made a deal with Planet Fitness or one of the existing gyms if they really feel the students need such a facility. Also, I find it appalling that the "teachers" are leading so many of these young people to believe that they're on the path to becoming multi-millionaire athletes when they actually have more chance of winning the lottery.