Athletes take pride in fieldhouse (08-03-12)
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 03 August 2012 07:49
MILLBURY - Since the June 2010 tornado tore apart Lake High School, even "home" games felt like away contests to some student-athletes. They had to practice and play down the road at Owens Community College.
|Dave Shaffer, director of athletics in the gym inside the new Lake high school. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
But now, the Flyers are coming home.
"They made the most of it and Owens' generosity extends beyond words, but it's just nice to be home," said Lake Superintendent Jim Witt.
"Home" is a 2,000-seat Flyer Fieldhouse complete with arena style seating, a college-length court and a shiny, new hardwood floor.
"It's really motivating to see the look on their faces (student-athletes) when they come in," Witt said. "You can see their sense of pride.
"When they came in and had open gyms this summer, the looks on their faces were worth a million words."
Other features of the Flyer Fieldhouse, located just off the "runway" at the new high school, include: electronically-adjusted basketball hoops, a motorized flag and more balanced seating.
Banners, signs, scoreboards and the motorized flag were all paid for through donations.
The arena-style seating is spread out over four seats of bleachers.
The seating was designed so Flyer and guest student sections are on opposite end of the floor, with adult seating on the sides.
The size of the gym floor has also been expanded from 84 to 94 feet, which allows for plenty of space for two side courts.
Across the "runway" is an auxiliary gym, which doubles as a cafeteria serving 900 middle school and high school students, daily.
Netted batting cages rotate to the floor in a minute's time and a full basketball/volleyball court are also available for practice.
The floor is a softer, multi-purpose surface, which according to administrators, makes it suitable for absorbing baseballs and softballs, but also for mopping up gravy and ketchup.
Tables are folded up after lunch, making way for team practices after school.
"It just makes this much more effective and efficient to be able to have that extra gym," said Athletic Director Dave Shaffer.
There are blue curtains that come down on each end of the gym to protect the walls.
On the wall in the runway are sport record boards and the Hall of Fame area.
The Hall of Fame area is blank now, but administrators plan to fill it with team plaques, hall-of-famers and championship plaques.
This memorabilia was destroyed in the tornado, but is being re-created.
"When this is all done, this will be full of photos and plaques like the old school," said Shaffer during a media tour of the new building.
Just off the main gym is the weight room.
The equipment was moved over from the middle school, but the weight room now boasts a training room and mirrors all around. It has a back exit to the gym.