The Sterlington Panthers worked out in their newly-renovated weight room for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.

Sterlington High's football team now has new weight equipment to go with its new football coach.

Eleven new weight racks, complete with squat racks, benches, new sets of weights, bars, collars and power racks with pull-up bars — adorned with Panther logos — were all in place by Wednesday afternoon.

“Most of our work nowadays is done within the racks,” said Jason Thompson, the former Neville defensive coordinator, who was introduced as the Panthers' new head coach on Jan. 23.

Along with the new equipment, the room was given a makeover with a new paint job and new floor mats.

With phase one of the three-phase, $28,000 project all but complete, the Panthers worked out in the newly-refurbished facility for the first time Wednesday afternoon.

“Most of the equipment was from the old (high) school,” Thompson said. “We finished putting everything together Tuesday and the kids worked out for the first time Wednesday. The kids seemed excited.”

Thompson said a few finishing touches, such as an eight-foot sign bearing a striking blue-eyed, black panther inscribed with, “The eyes of the past, present and future are upon you today,” are expected to be added by Friday.

Other improvements, including a new film screen, video cameras and a new sound system will be installed by the end of summer.

About the only equipment retained from the old weight room was a set of dumbbells which has been relocated to the center of the room.

Having more open space in the center of the facility enables the Panthers to do their pre-workout stretching in the weight room. In the past, the athletes had to stretch outside because the room was too crowded for large groups.

Also, the extra open space gives the coaching staff the option of an extra film room.