Gym Donates $250K in Fitness Equipment to East Hampton High

A win-win situation for all the players involved
Bruce Cotter and Bubby busy themselves with running three South Fork gyms, in East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Southampton. Jack Graves

It’s not often in sports you have a win-win situation for all the players involved. But the Hamptons Gym Corp.’s donation of about $250,000 worth of fitness equipment to East Hampton High School is just such a scenario.

The East Hampton Gym, one of the Hamptons Gym Corp.’s three fitness centers, is embarking on a full renovation and needed to free up space for all-new equipment. The high school will benefit from that need, as Bruce Cotter, the owner of the Hamptons Gym Corp. and an alumnus of East Hampton High, decided to donate the equipment.

Cotter and Joe Vasile-Cozzo, the East Hampton School District’s athletic director, are confident the equipment will benefit the whole school.

“I think it’s a game-changer, honestly, both for our athletic program and our general student population who would like to work on their fitness for life,” Vasile-Cozzo said. “It really gives them the opportunity to do that in a terrific environment. I hope our staff uses it in the morning. It is going to be one of the best fitness rooms in any high school around.”

“We’re challenged, competition-wise, going up against some bigger schools,” Cotter said. “Hopefully this will help us get bigger, faster, stronger, and create more team bonds in the off-season in the weight room in the school.”

Cotter affectionately says “we” in reference to his alma mater, where he played football, baseball, and wrestled before graduating in 1992. He played football with Kendall Madison, in whose memory the fitness center is named.

East Hampton Gym is donating 46 pieces of equipment, including Cybex brand circuit training machines, Life Fitness treadmills with Internet capability, Precor elliptical machines, and various free weights. East Hampton’s existing fitness center already had 26 machines, so the new gym will have nearly triple the capacity it previously had. Even though the donated equipment is used, Cotter said it is still in great shape.

“We have a maintenance procedure that they go through every day,” he said. “You have to keep them lubricated, and cleanliness is the best thing. They are well designed, and they are going to last another 10 years even under heavy use.”

At East Hampton, Vasile-Cozzo said the fitness room was getting so popular that kids were regularly spilling out into the hallway waiting for machines or working out with weights and mats because it was filled to capacity. Part of the process is the relocation of the fitness center to the school’s multipurpose room, where the wrestling team and other school groups formerly held practices.

The new 5,000-square-foot space will mean more students and even entire sports teams can use the fitness room at once. The new equipment will arrive on Tuesday, the same day East Hampton Gym will close for its renovations. In preparation for the new equipment, the Kendall Madison Foundation put a fresh coat of Bonac maroon and gray paint on the walls, and the Bonac Booster Club and East Hampton Gym are chipping in with money to finance moving the equipment from the gym to the high school.

“I’m speechless. It’s unbelievable,” Vasile-Cozzo said. “This community has always taken care of its kids. . . . Things like that don’t happen in many communities. We’re very lucky.”