The much-anticipated grand opening of the new competition gym at Webster City High School drew students, teachers, community members and alumni Sunday afternoon. The project, which was started in the fall of 2010, was recently completed and is now ready for use, according to school officials.
Those attending were able to wander through the facility to see the new locker rooms, restrooms and lobby-concessions area. In the gym, the sound system was up and running, while slides of the construction project were shown on the new video scoreboard. Visitors also had a chance to try out the stadium seating on the "home" side of the gym, something many spectators had requested, school officials said. Adorning the corridors were customized graphics which depicted photos of the Hall of Fame members along with inspirational quotations.
School board President Pam Hayes said she was very impressed with the facility and was enjoying the reactions of those seeing the facility for the first time.
"This place is just incredible," said Hayes. "I got teary-eyed just watching the faces as people came in today."
"I'm totally thrilled that it turned out so well and that the project came together. The public was behind the project all along and now they get to see this magnificent building," she said.
"I think it's more than anybody ever hoped for," Hayes said. "It'll be used for many many years to come."
The technology, wall graphics and other features make the gym a state-of-the-art facility not often found in a high school setting. Bob Howard, athletic director and head football coach said the addition was "Unlike any other gym I've seen."
"It was hard to wait for it because I'm not patient, but it was definitely worth the wait,"?Howard said. "We're really excited to get in here with volleyball practice tomorrow, and the football players will be in the locker rooms.
"I think people are really going to be happy with it," he said.
Howard said the new gym would likely be a venue for some regional and district competitions.
"We would sure think that we would get volleyball, basketball and wrestling districts or regionals. We won't get them all every year, but we'll get some of them because there aren't many gyms with this kind of seating and facilities," according to Howard.
Peterson Construction was the general contractor for the addition. A graduate of Webster City High School, Jake Peterson said he's pleased with the finished facility.
"Everything's looking great and it's a great turnout today. People are everywhere, looking at all there is to see," Peterson said.
"This is something to be proud of here," he said.
Superintendent Mike Sherwood said the project was the culmination of several years planning by many.
"This was a lot of work by a lot of people and it turned out just great," he said. "I'm very appreciative of the turn out today and the enthusiasum people have for this project." he said.
"The graphics and the fine touches really set off the building and make it very unique. We can't wait to get the students in here," he said. "I'm looking forward to their reaction."