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Alexander High School Principal Nathan Hand laughingly said recently that the school has been in need of a new gym for the past 20 years.
This is similar situation that many schools find themselves in these days. About 10 years after the school was first built, the areas growth had far surpassed all expectation. The school was built to handle 1,200 students, but that number has swelled to 1,700. While additional classrooms had been built, the gym still looked like it was built in the 1980’s… which it had.
“Our outdated and undersized gym was having a negative impact on the school,” said Hand. “Coaches where having to share offices, the various teams were crammed into one locker room, multiple physical education classes were being held at the same time and team practice were being held late at night or at different schools to accommodate everyone.”
Oftentimes, a school these days will have two or three gymnasiums to handle the increased need to field numerous men’s and women’s sports.
Needing school board approval, the Alexander community rallied behind the effort to secure funding. Once the school received approval for the new gymnasium, they put out an RFP for CM Services.
“We carefully considered two parts of the response: cost and referrals,” said Hand. “R.K. Redding Construction has a solid reputation and completed several nice projects in the area, so we were excited to move forward on the project with them.”
The old gym held 1,150 students and had one court. The new 52,000 square foot gym would be able to hold 2,000 students and two regulation courts, as well as a wrestling room, weight room, separate coach’s offices and multiple locker rooms and storage areas.The facility included a variety of facades to provide a modern industrial look.
With events on campus practically every day, year-round, RKR had to be creative to save money and get the job done in as unobtrusive a way as possible. This including over-digging holes and back-filling, as well as changing the footprint.
Alexander is now able to host larger community wide events such as the recently held Relay for Life. Hand continued, “We have pride in hosting community wide events and it provides real-life opportunities for our students to embody our mantra of giving back and collecting community service hours.”
The new gym has brought renewed pride to the school.
“If you have a second rate facility, then the students will treat it as such,” said Hand. “When the students and teachers have pride in something, that’s obviously an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere. They can feel good about where they live. And when they do, they take pride in protecting it and keeping it nice.”
These days, it’s great to be an Alexander Cougar.