Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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January 21, 2014

Nothing but net with new look gym — A school gym facility in the heart of a Pauls Valley park has a whole new look these days as a bond issue renovation is now complete.

Making the transformation from a bobby socks look closer to an era gone by to a much more modern facility is the Wacker Park gym.

The gym renovation now wrapped up is one of the three large renovation projects paid for by a bond issue passed by PV voters back in the spring of 2012.

For school Superintendent Darsha Huckabaa it’s all smiles when she looks at the gym now and how it’s expected to benefit a whole lot of Pauls Valley students today and in the coming years.

“It’s awesome,” said a beaming Huckabaa. “I’m just so proud of it. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to have the facility they deserve.

“It’s called Panther pride. It gives our students something nice to have pride in. It’s a wonderful facility. Our coaches are really excited and proud of it,” she said.

“I’m anxious for the students, anxious for the community to see it.”

Some students actually started using the new-look gym this week as an open house will come later on to give the community a chance to really check out the many improvements now completed inside and out.

Described as “strictly a practice facility,” the gym will be used by all ages of PV students from fourth grade and up.

Elementary students can use the facility for physical education classes, while junior high teams can hit the gym for basketball practices.

Maybe the ones benefiting the most will be girls sports teams in tennis, track and softball.

The reason — the gym now features locker rooms for girls and boys, along with new showers, dressing areas and restroom facilities.

That’s a big deal because none of those things were very good before as the condition of the gym building had deteriorated to the point where school officials had to decide to save it or make other arrangements.

Another big difference is all of the gym’s spectator seating has been removed — as in completely gone from both sides.

“There’s no seating in here,” Huckabaa said.

“We had to take it out because of the fire marshal, who said we needed a fire break between the gym area and the dressing rooms in order to come up to code,” she said.

“The seating was also taken out in order for us to remodel the dressing rooms. We didn’t have a choice in that.”

The renovation also includes a new roof, windows, heating in the gym, heating and air conditioning in the locker rooms, lights, fans, sidewalks around the gym and increased security.

Adding to it all the gym is color coordinated with the two other projects included on the bond issue — the renovated junior high auditorium and football fieldhouse.

Put simply, that means the red and black of the Panthers is combined with a splash of gray.

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