New Mexico Tech President Stephen Wells, in the back, stands with a group of students who participate in club rugby and are in the barbell club. Both clubs, along with club soccer, will be the main students using the high-intensity gym.
Caitie Ihrig| El Defensor Chieftain

On Monday, New Mexico Tech held a ribbon-cutting

ceremony for their new high-intensity gym and also showed off their new boulder wall. This was just the first step towards the bigger project — completely redoing everything inside of the building.

Stephen Wells, New Mexico Tech president, said that Tech will start to move forward with the plans once they have all the funding which will come from philanthropic giving, student fees, and state contributions.

Wells said that it is very important to have a gym that meets the needs of the students and reflects the quality of the university.

“We have a strong commitment in my administration for supporting student life,” he said. “Having healthy students, both mentally and physically, and they are tied together, is very important for us.”

The focus on the first part of the remodel was on the club sports teams who will primarily be using the boulder wall and the high-intensity gym.

Sara Watson, a student at New Mexico Tech who is in the
climbing club, climbs the boulder wall on Monday. Tech is
in the process of getting funding to also build a three-story
repelling wall.
Caitie Ihrig| El Defensor Chieftain

“Our rugby teams are competing at a higher level, said Gearoid Dunbar, rugby head coach and Sports Club Coordinator. “Our rock climbing team competes at a higher level. We now have a barbell team that competes as well. The stance and caliber of the players… The athletes want to take it a bit more seriously and compete at a national level, opposed to a smaller New Mexico area.”

Having that area, Dunbar said, will allow the rugby team to train altogether instead of in smaller groups. That will allow them to get closer to reaching their goal of moving to the next division from the men’s small college division.

“It means we can actually train as a larger group as opposed to having the two squat racks,” he said. “We now have the six stations we can train at so we can now get more done as a team. We are able to do more Olympic lifts so we can train specifically for rugby as opposed to just going in and working out. We now have goals that we can achieve.”

Dunbar said the remodel was first talked about a few years ago, but that there was never a good time to do it. With New Mexico Tech closing due to the coronavirus, it gave them enough time to complete it.

The boulder wall was originally in a room on the right side at the bottom of the staircase that leads into the gym. That is now the high-intensity gym.

Since Tech has two squash halls, they decided to remove one of them and make that area the boulder wall to give the athletes more space.

“The nice thing is it being in its own room is our team can go in there and we can close it so that it’s just access to the team,” Dunbar said.

The boulder wall was made completely in-house as Scott Roberts who is their rock climbing coach is also a professional climber and by trade, designs rock walls.

Dunbar, Roberts, and a few maintenance staff welded the wall together and then Roberts put the wood on it and painted it. Once the remodel starts on the whole building,

Wells said there are plans to put in a three-story repelling wall that will be in addition to the boulder wall.

The plans also include a running track on the top level, a huge Esports arena, and the locker room and exercise areas will be redone.

The swimming pool will be getting a new permanent cover with sides that open up.

“Having indoor running, I think, is good for everybody,” Wells said. “Improving the sports arena here, improving where they can do the weight lifts and various cardiovascular exercise is part of that plan.”