Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gymnasium Long Overdue ; EVSC School Board Approves $2.8M Contract for New Perry Heights Facility

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gymnasium Long Overdue ; EVSC School Board Approves $2.8M Contract for New Perry Heights Facility

Article excerpt

Terry Gamblin feels he can now let out a sigh of relief knowing that after 20 years the last Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. middle school with only one gymnasium will be getting a second one. Gamblin, EVSC School Board secretary, exclaimed "Praise the Lord!" in excitement at Monday night's meeting after the board approved a $2.8 million contract for the construction of a new 14,473 square- foot gymnasium at Perry Heights Middle School to ARC Construction Co. Inc., of Evansville. Amenities will include bleacher seating for 644 people, new locker rooms, new restrooms and intercom system. Additional parking, about 80 spots, is also planned in the north and south lots.

"I've been fighting for this for years and years and years," Gamblin said. "It's long overdue. I can't wait to get that shovel in my hand and dig that dirt. I'm ready to go."

Currently, Perry Heights is the only EVSC middle school with only one gym, which during sporting events can seat only about 200 spectators with portable bleachers and chairs. The Westside school, currently serving grades 6-8, was constructed in 1939 and, according to officials, hasn't changed much since some work in 1989.

The new gym will be connected to the south end of Perry Heights and will also include a concession stand, home and visitor locker rooms with 21 double-tiered lockers and an elevator to connect the school's main level and lower level. Six local contractors bid on the project with the lowest bid was accepted.

Construction is expected to begin in three to four weeks, said Pat Tuley, EVSC chief facilities officer, and he expects it to be completed in nine or 10 months depending if there is a dry period when construction can start. Funding for the project is contained in the district's capital projects budget.

Tuley understands the struggles that students, staff and families have dealt with concerning the size of the current gymnasium because his daughter attended Perry Heights and played basketball there.

"I've gone in that gym where it's crowded and the bleachers are right up against the court," he said. "And she went through graduation there, and we were limited to who we could have there at graduation just because they didn't have the capability to put people in it. …

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