Park School District athletic director Randy Hinson formerly worked in some big Texas schools, but he never came across a high school weight room and training room like the one Estes Park High School has in the Perry Black Fitness Center.
"Maybe some of the bigger schools have upgraded since then, but what we have is more like what you'd find at the college level," Hinson said recently. "Our weight room is, by far, much better than any weight room I've been around."
The Perry Black Fitness Center is a state of the art training facility that is a long way from the near-closets the school's weight room and training room were formerly stuffed into. The project, which developed alongside the school expansions over the past couple of years, grew from the comment of a rival football player who equated the poor training facilities with the quality of the football team. That spurred Bobcat boosters Mike Eitzen, Curt Weibel and others into action. More than $100,000 later, the school has a facility that is the envy of other schools.
"We saw this as an opportunity to turn this into something really special for the kids and improve their health," said Weibel. A nurse practitioner with a family medicine certification and a sports medicine background, Weibel has been involved with Bobcat sports for nearly 19 years as a coach and primary provider of on-site medical care for high school athletes in Estes Park.
"The huge need in the high school was not for a new gym," he said. "The whole Perry Black Center was formed on the principles of health and fitness."
While the weight room and the training programs run by fitness trainer Greg Wedo are very visible components of what the Perry Black Center is quickly coming to mean to Bobcat sports, the training room Weibel works from is an equally important part of the sports and fitness culture at the high school.
Weibel has been a fixture of Bobcat sports for a generation. He started coaching football here in 1991 as an assistant to Dave Chapman, and coached that sport for seven years. He was the head baseball coach for a couple of seasons. But it has probably been in his role in healing injured players and helping them get back into competition that he has made the greatest impact. The new training room allows him to raise the care he can provide to a new level.
"I've been through 50 different training rooms in Colorado high schools and I've never seen anything close to this one," he said.
Prior to the creation of the new facility, Estes Park's weight room was cramped and stocked with equipment that was old and used when Weibel and Chapman scared it up more than 15 years ago and the training room was little more than a closet with an ice machine and some Band-Aids, the typical set-up for a small high school. Weibel estimated that the training room component of the Perry Black Center cost about $35,000 to make happen. The result is a facility with a far greater impact on the care and recovery of injured student-athletes. The training room is outfitted almost as well as Weibel's minor trauma room at Timberline Medical Center. He can provide a range of treatments, from e-stim to ultrasound and beyond.
"Anything a major college would have in their facility, we have here," Weibel said. "We have a lot more modalities to use for treatment. It's not just ice and heat. We wanted to be able to treat the athlete immediately."
Quicker and better treatment that helps an athlete get back on the court faster is one half of the objective; injury prevention is the other half. Weibel said the training room is important in preventing injuries as well.
"We were seeing so many injuries on the field," he said. "Joints weren't strong enough, or we couldn't do appropriate preventive medicine. When they did get injured it took a long time to put them back on the field again."
Weibel says kids are getting back into action following injuries about twice as fast as they formerly did. Apart from the treatment he can provide in the training room, Weibel's expertise and care has itself has made a big difference on many occasions. He has reset a number of shoulders, fingers and other body parts that had popped out of their sockets, sutured lacerations and set the badly broken nose of a basketball player injured in practice. 
While the weight room and training room are heavily used by students directly involved in sports, another of the objectives is to help the entire student population, including using the facility as a teaching tool. Weibel had an athletic training program in the early 90s, and has wanted that program to be revived -- he just did not have an appropriate place for it. Now he does, and he hopes to be able to nurture students who have an interest in sports medicine.
The school district has a small budget for operating the Perry Black Center -- Hinson said stocking the training at the beginning of the year with the basics for first aid comes out of the athletic budget -- but just as the center was developed almost entirely with privately raised money, Weibel keeps the training room stocked with most of the rest of the required supplies out of his own pocket. He also envisions future improvements, both within the training room and within the Perry Black Center in general. For instance, he would like to see artificial turf going into the wrestling room, which would be a benefit to fall and spring sports teams like the Bobcat baseball team when weather forces them inside.
Ladycat basketball coach Dave Kisersaid, Weibel and the training room are making a big contribution to his team's success.
"Having him there in the training room to take care of injuries is a big deal in my mind, and an unbelievable asset to the school district," Kiser said. "He takes great care of the kids and it's an asset to our ability to operate on a higher plane. He a guy who doesn't like to take credit for things, but he deserves a lot of credit."