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CENTRAL HIGH —
CENTRAL HIGH — Central High School District is only about one month away from using its new gym. Superintendent Bennie Newton is just waiting for the construction project to be completed and for the keys to be turned over to him.
The gym is the result of a $5.995 million bond issue approved by Central High voters Feb. 14, 2012. A portion of the funds also replaced the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) in the combined junior high and high school.
“Everybody’s excited,” Newton said. “The more that’s done, the more people get excited. And it’s not just at the school. It’s throughout the whole community as well.”
The project groundbreaking took place in July 2012. Since then, the project has taken shape, with focus now on restrooms and plumbing, and adding the final details.
Newton said some of the details are unique to Central High, to give them the feel of being at the Home of the Bronchos.
The gym has an open lobby separated from the gym floor by a short, rounded brick wall. Above this divide, there is a mural of Bronchos running, which Newton said has been a center of many conversations in the community. There is also a Broncho mural as people enter the front doors of the gym.
“It’s very, very nice,” Newton said. “It’s got some unique things to it. We wanted to have personal touches.”
The new gym will also address some concerns about the current gym. Both gyms will be used which will make athletics and physical education classes easier to schedule. The new gym will also provide more room, including space around the basketball court, which does not exist at the older gym.
Newton said about 1,000 people will be able to attend basketball games, other sporting events or the school’s graduation ceremony in the new gym. The Central High community has 1,194 residents. He said the size of the gym should also make it easy for the school district to host basketball tournaments.
“This will triple capacity of what we have now,” Newton said. “That’s being conservative. It should more than triple capacity.”
Small touches, including digital temperature controls and sensor lights, help bring the new gym into the 21st Century. The locker rooms have speaker volume controls and have a shot clock in sync with the main scoreboard. The scoreboard also contains a video screen.
Newton said the gym will be in use once the project is completed. There are also plans to have an open house following the completion, although a date has not yet been set. And the first high school basketball game set to be played in the new gym should be against Bray-Doyle High School.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for this district,” Newton said. “It shows the support from our community. Our school is what it is because of the support of the community.”