Workers break ground on new gym

Workers break ground on new gym

Nadav Gov-Ari

 

Digging In: Construction commenced Nov. 29 at the site of the new RBHS gymnasium. Adjacent to the south lot, the gym is being built in order to accommodate the incoming freshman class of 2013. Photo by Asa Lory
A new auxiliary gymnasium for both RBHS and Hickman High School is being constructed thanks to a 2010 bond passed by the Board of Education. The bond, which is also funding other district projects like Battle High School, is shouldering the $7.5 million cost of the two gyms.
Workers will construct the new RBHS gym adjacent and to the south of the current gym; it will house a weight room, a wrestling room, locker rooms and coaches’ offices. The gyms are expected to be completed by the start of the next school year.
However, the speedy completion does not make the new gym a candidate for too much use. Athletic director Jennifer Mast said the current gym is in good enough condition to hold sporting events. This makes the new gym’s main purpose to provide additional and improved opportunities for students to earn their physical education credits as well as to aid in the influx of students, which has led to an increased need for P.E. credits.
“The thing about freshmen is when they get to [RBHS] as sophomores, they’ve already got half of their P.E. credit,” Mast said. “Now we have to be able to accommodate all these freshman who need not only half but the entire P.E. credit, as well as those in [grades] 10 to 12 who need their half. With one gym, we just wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
Sophomore basketball player Sanja Kalender said another gym is a necessity given the scheduling conflicts many sports face with practice times.
“I’m really looking forward to not having issues with scheduling,” Kalender said. “Sometimes the boys would have practice at one time, and the girl[s] would practice the same time the next day, and it got really confusing.”
However, a construction project of this magnitude comes with costs. Access to the fields has been limited, and the preschool playground is to be relocated to the area west of the science wing. Mast sent an email to teachers warning of potential traffic issues and decreased faculty parking.
“We’ve already closed down a row of faculty parking in the south lot,” Mast said. “And you can expect some more parking spots to close down during the summer.”
The duration of the project is dependent on the weather, as snow and ice could slow the process. However, Mast fully expects the gym to be available when the first freshman class arrives in fall 2013, with the potential of having it ready to use in the spring of the same year.
“Lots of that is dependent on winter, especially when you’re moving dirt during the winter, it gets cold and snowy and then you have to take some time off,” Mast said. “But we started earlier than planned, which was kind of a surprise to us. It will be ready for the ‘new’ Rock Bridge.”