DUNLAP — The “weight” is almost over for Concord High School’s new $5 million fitness and performance center.

After years of planning, the school’s new 13,000-square-foot fitness facility is expected to be completed shortly after the start of school Wednesday, officials said.

The addition of the Concord Fitness and Performance Center is on the south end of the high school near the existing pool.

The facility contains 14 weight racks, along with various free-weight barbells in the main room and an area for cardio exercising as well as four office spaces.

The facility is exclusively for students. During the school day, the center will be used for physical education courses – more specifically, weight athletic classes. And before and after school hours, it’ll serve all of Concord’s sports teams.

Dave Preheim, the high school’s athletic director, said the new facility is six times larger than the old weight room, which was upstairs next to the wrestling practice room, and will allow for larger teams and groups to utilize the room at once.

“Our old facility is 38 years old and this is the first indoor athletic facility upgrade that we’ve done of any sort in 22 years,” he said. “So, we were certainly at a state where we outgrew our old facility.”

With the new facility also comes a new director – Matt Murphy.

Murphy comes to Concord from Arkansas State University where he served as an intern before becoming assistant director of strength and conditioning for the past four years. He has also worked at Mercer University and several private facilities.

As the director, Murphy will work with the wellness teachers and head coaches to implement strength and conditioning programming as well as culture development for athletes and staff alike.  He will also work closely with athletic training staff to specifically tailor rehab programs for athletes returning from injuries.

Preheim said he believes the facility with Murphy’s expertise will be instrumental in helping students prepare to compete.

“This center is more than just weights, it’s specialized to the student’s sport,” he said, “and that’s the great thing about having someone here with Matt’s experience because our girls’ tennis players will train differently than our football kids and he’ll be able to work with the coaches to develop exercises that best suit each of the players.”

In his new role, Murphy said he looks forward to helping the students enhance their athletic performance.

“My better goal is to make them better athletes and make them more confident so when they go out and play, they can feel better because they’re more confident in their preparation,” he said.

Other projects at Concord include the college and career readiness addition at the high school and district’s new virtual academy both of which will open for the start of the school year.

The projects fit into the $15 million bond sale and will not raise property taxes, school officials said.                

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