New Facility to Impact Entire Simpson Community


by Gabe Gilson and Erin Guzman

As the Indianola community begins to make transitions for the YMCA facilities, so does Simpson College.

Aside from the new entity for the city, Simpson also has plans to update its athletic and weight room facilities.

In place of the current pool, Simpson plans to construct a two-level weight and cardio area for athletes, students, and faculty. One level will be for weight and strength training, while the other level will have more cardio equipment. This change will allow for more up-to-date equipment to be in use for more people.

Head Athletic Trainer Jason Uhlenhake sees many positives for students, both athletically and academically.

“The new facilities are going to be positive for both Indianola and Simpson,” Uhlenhake said. “Simpson’s facilities will have more potential class space for athletic training. We hope to have an exercise science lab, which will benefit our department, pre-med, and pre-physical therapy students as well.”

The on-campus facilities will offer a variety of learning opportunities for students in health-related fields. With new equipment and lab space, it will give students a more hands-on educational experience in their areas of study.

Simpson College President John Byrd sees these new additions as enhancements to the new student center.

“We want to create a more attractive campus-community environment,” Byrd said. “The new athletic space will help boost both athletic and academic programs, and compliment Simpson’s current growth.”

So what does this mean for the pool?

Since the YMCA will have a competition sized pool and aquatics center, the Simpson swim teams will practice and compete there, about two miles north of town. With mass seating and high-tech facilities, the YMCA’s pools will offer more opportunities to these athletic teams and the Indianola middle and High School teams as well.

Head Men’s and Women’s Swim Coach Aaron Strain is excited to finally have a facility that will enhance Simpson’s programs.

“Between these two entities, the possibilities for academics and athletics are incredible,” Strain said. “This will be a top-notch aquatic facility, probably the best in central Iowa. We’ll be able to host any size meet short of a national competition.”

Although the YMCA is two miles away from campus, the location does not present too much of a problem for athletes.

“It’s not a bad distance,” Strain said. “It may be a little bit of a challenge, but I see the positives outweighing the negatives.”

The possibilities for growth have been noted by Simpson faculty and officials thanks to the soon-to-be constructed YMCA and campus center. Not only will the YMCA create economic stimulation and house new fitness technologies, but it will also all students to shadow their facilities and do internships related to their fields of study.

“This is going to be big for pre-med and pre-physical therapy students,” Uhlenhake said. “Students can get observation hours or internships there and learn a lot, which will also help in our training rooms. It’s also a plus having it so close to campus. Students won’t have to go far.”

With these two entities working together, it will also mean discounted membership rates for Simpson students and faculty.

Overall, those who have been involved in the planning are very excited because of the possibilities for Simpson as a whole.

“It’s all about creating a good environment,” said John Siriani, head athletic director. “We’re really trying to work with the academic departments so this can benefit everyone, not just athletics.”