“... it will be a popular space that our entire community will be eager to use.” — Debby Ghezzi, Athletic Director
Sept. 30, 2021 — On a recent afternoon, the Calagione Fitness Center was bustling as music poured from speakers while students lifted weights and stretched on mats along one wall. The new 6,000-square-foot fitness center in James Gym is expansive and bright, with high ceilings and tall arched windows.
“I love the atmosphere,” said Emma Hughes ’23, a new NMH student who plans to try wrestling or tennis this year. “The vibe in the free weight area is judgment-free. I’m going to spend a lot of time here with my friends.”
While new cardio equipment has yet to be installed, students have been using the fitness center daily since early September, said Athletic Director Debby Ghezzi. “Most of the action so far has been from athletes for weight lifting, and they seem to enjoy the new setup,” she said. “Once the cardio area is finished, I anticipate it will be a popular space that our entire community will be eager to use.”
The new fitness center is part of an ongoing $4.8 million multi-sport facilities upgrade that includes the construction of a new center for the wrestling team and renovations to transform the ice hockey rink, McCollum Arena, from an open-air pavilion into a weather-tight building.
The improvements were made possible through the leadership of Board of Trustees Chair Mariah Calagione ’89, P’20, ’18 and her husband, Sam Calagione ’88, P’20, ’18. The Calagiones, who met as students at NMH and whose children attended the school, made a $1 million lead gift toward the project. They also provided a challenge gift to match all additional contributions of $250,000 or more to the athletic project, up to $3 million. The match gifts will support endowed financial aid and other campus investments that align with the mission and values of the school.
The hockey rink is expected to be finished by the end of November, and the new wrestling center by the end of January, according to Jeff Seymour, NMH’s project manager.
Wrestler and soccer player David Barrett ’23 has been excited about the new facilities since they were announced last year and says he is grateful to be at NMH right now. “It’s a good feeling to see everything that’s happening and to realize that people want to make these gifts to students. It shows how much our school and community care about students and its athletes,” he said.
Head of School Brian Hargrove emphasized that the fitness center will support the health and wellness of the entire NMH community. Health and wellness are core values for the Calagiones and a major reason for their support of the project. Mariah Calagione said, “Our family is an active one! We prioritize exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, and we see immense value in creating opportunities for the NMH community to be as healthy as it can be.” She added, “Since the days of D.L. Moody, the school has relied on the generous support of its friends and alumni to ensure it has the resources to deliver a full and excellent experience to students from around the world. When each of our family members attended NMH, we benefited from the generosity of others. We are humbled to be part of the continued legacy of giving back to NMH and encourage everyone to join us.”
“This school really opens doors for athletes and all students,” said Aiden Hanning ’22, a wrestler. “This shows how great our community is that people who have come before us still think about the school and students. I truly hope that is something I can carry on in my future.”
See photos of the fitness center in action.