West Central Cougar fans will notice some big changes when they enter the Bluffs Community School gymnasium this year.
Superintendent Kevin Blankenship tells WLDS-WEAI News that construction crews have been working all summer renovating the gym in time for the 2016-2017 sports season.
Blankenship says plans to update the gym have been in the works for years.
“Our gym floor was in really bad shape. It had been repaired numerous times. We had problems with our bleachers because they were the old, manual wooden bleachers. We have a lot of senior citizens that attend our ball games. They had no steps into the bleachers, no aisles or handrails,” says Blankenship.
The ADA compliant bleachers and new floor are both in place. Fans will notice a new scoreboard in the gym and improvements to the side hoops. The finishing touches should be done sometime this week.
Due to the unsafe bleachers and asbestos in the floor, Bluffs issued a health-life safety bond for $280,000. Blankenship believes the project will be under-budget when all is said and done.
As for the reaction from students, faculty and the community…
“Everyone said it looks really good and brings it into the modern area with other regional gyms. For a small rural school, in these economic times, it is a big accomplishment for the district,” says Blankenship.
The gym seats around 650 people.
Blankenship plans on applying for junior high and high school regional tournaments to get the full potential out of the new gym.