NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The first major renovation of the North Ridgeville High School gymnasium since the school was built in the 1960s will produce a shiny new venue for sports and assemblies complete with new bleachers, resurfaced flooring, lights and paint.
But it will produce something even more valuable, said Matt Yunker, the school district’s athletic director.
“It will be something everyone can take pride in, and that wasn’t always the case,” Yunker said as he reflected back on past years in which students envied newer, slicker schools and facilities elsewhere only to return home to an aging school and gym.
“Kids really notice things like that,” Yunker said. “We want them to be proud of their school and gym.”
Budgeted at about $160,000, the re-do is due to be completed in about two weeks — before the scheduled start of fall sports tryouts that begin with volleyball on Aug. 1.
Built in 1967, the high school gym has seen minimal improvements.
“It has the original bleachers and floor and lighting,” Yunker said.
The rows of all-wood bleachers that hosted thousands of basketball and volleyball fans over the years, to say nothing of students for countless assemblies and other events, have been removed and are being replaced by blue molded plastic bleachers.
The school’s team colors of deep blue and gold will be freshly painted “wall-to-wall and to the ceiling,” Yunker said.
The new paint will doubtless appear even more impressive thanks to new, energy-efficient lights which should double the gymnasium’s brightness as they save money, Yunker said.
The $160,000 price will be paid by district permanent improvement money as well as revenue generated by a program that raises funds through corporate naming rights for various school facilities, including the gym.
No decision has been reached about naming rights for the gym, Yunker said.
“We’re in the early stages of that campaign,” Yunker said.
Work on the gym will continue into the third week of July.