FOLEY -- Foley students will see some big changes to their high school campus at the start of the 2020 school year.

Construction started in early October on a Human Performance Lab, geared toward in-depth athletic education and training.

The lab will be adjacent to a new 1700 sq. ft. wrestling program practice space, roughly twice the size of the team’s current space.

The Human Performance Lab will offer a more granular approach to the study of physical education, housing classes on topics like biomechanics - the science of physical motion - exercise physiology and athletic training.

The lab will also include video equipment and digital apps for students to do in-depth analyses of athletic techniques, like pitching or swim strokes.

“The easy example is throwing a baseball,” Foley Superintendent Paul Neubauer says. “Let’s say I’m throwing it 70 miles per hour. Now, let’s look at it from a biomechanical standpoint. What if I raise my arm angle, and what if I turn a little more, and open my hips a little quicker. Now, instead of 70, I’m throwing it 75. If you start with a belief that there’s a correct way to do something, video will show what that looks like.”

Health teacher Evan Warnert says few high schools have programs or facilities this advanced.

Photo: Abby Faulkner

 

"It's new," he says. "We're going to be talking to universities because there aren’t other high schools to talk about it with."

Warnert says Foley offers an advanced health class right now, geared toward students interested in careers in sports medicine or athletic training. “We’re going to build on that and hopefully make a senior capstone experience for students who want to go into health sciences. The ideas are overflowing.”

As for the new wrestling practice space, what’s the biggest gain? “Well, more space,” says Athletic Director Dean Dahman. He says the popular sport typically has 50 varsity members each year, along with seven coaches, and the current practice space has been too small for a while. The larger space will allow for more individualized training.

“It’ll give them more room to be with their coaches and learn the ins and outs of the sport,” says Dahman. “With the number of coaches we have, we can break (wrestlers) into more sections and work on technique.”

Dahman says the practice room equipment will also be updated, and since it will be adjacent to the human performance lab, wrestlers will have full access to biomechanical tools as well.

“It’s going to add excitement,” Dahman says. “It will increase our numbers.”

Neubauer says the overarching goal is to help students achieve their potential in what they’re passionate about.

“Some kids have a particular talent in that physical education area,” Neubauer says. “For a school our size to be able to provide that array of curriculum offerings, it’s really positive.“