LAUREL -- It was like unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning.
The eagerly awaited semi truck with new Hammer Strength equipment pulled in to Laurel High School at the crack of dawn Tuesday delivering new workout gear custom glazed in purple and gold school colors.
"It just gets the athletes and the students more excited," Locomotives head football coach Mike Ludwig told MTN Sports as the delivery crew shuffled in boxes of hardware. "It becomes more personal for them."
Ludwig expressed deep appreciation for financial help from the community, private donations and the school district, which also chipped in. He said the new building is more than four times the size of Laurel's original high school gym.
"Our old weight room was 1,000 square feet. This is 4,500 square feet," Ludwig said.
It's also equipped with a feature that new schools building or those renovating tend to lean toward -- a durable strip of indoor turf.
"We're not only going to be lifting, we're going to be doing a lot of speed and explosion stuff, too, power lifting things and crossfit things," Ludwig said. "Not just doing bench press and squats, but doing a lot of speed and explosion stuff, too."
The only drawback to Laurel's brand-new, fully stocked fitness center?
"I wish we were doing this interview with kids behind me exercising and working out and stuff like that," Ludwig said with a wry smile. "We opened this place up, I think it was about March 10, it was a Friday, and school shut down on Monday. We were hoping we could just stay in here. With the school being shut down, could we open it up for kids to come exercise and work out? And it was just a no-go."