Martial Arts clubs to sponsor construction

Saba Nia

Six martial arts clubs and teams will propose a renovation to Hamilton Gym to administrators later this month to accommodate a larger space for the groups to practice.

After fencers and Boxing Club co-leaders Abner Benitez ’18 and Charles Connon ’18 noticed that there was an unused storage space in the gym last spring, they approached the members of the other martial arts groups, the Martial Arts Club, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, yoga and the wrestling and fencing teams to sponsor a joint-effort to remodel it.

“We believe we are helping the community by helping other clubs and sports deprived of practice area,” Benitez said. “For example, in fencing, we have all these members, but we don’t have that much space to accommodate all those members.”

According to Benitez, the sports teams and clubs currently don’t have enough space on campus to practice effectively. These groups often have to share space with one another or practice in areas that have not been updated to meet the groups’ needs. Connon said clubs rely heavily on club grants to get new, updated equipment.

“Hopefully the school could put aside some funds to help us fix those problems, but those are mainly infrastructure problems and hopefully getting this new room will help us address those problems, new equipment, everything,” Connon said.

Benitez and Connon met with Upper School Plant Manager Dave Mintz ’87 and Chief of Campus Operations and Construction JD de Matté before contacting architects at SoCal Design to prepare for their meeting. They will meet with the artists to review the final blueprints and plan proposals Nov. 16

Connon said the project is a tentative restoration, and the clubs and teams want to knock down the wall between the storage area and the wrestling room in order to convert the storage room into a larger practice area.

“Harvard-Westlake is a great campus and there’s a lot of overlooked activities that kids do,” Connon said. “But I think that the school is really good at addressing what clubs need to succeed and the resources they need and the school’s been really helpful with that. So, as long as the school continues to help out the overlooked clubs and the smaller ones, and not just focusing on the big ones like football, baseball, basketball, I think they’re doing a great job.”

The martial arts groups said they hope to finish the project by next school year.