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New gym progress

Construction of Palo Alto High School’s new, $36.4 million state-of-the-art sports complex continues construction.

Vance Brown Contractors began construction almost a year ago, and the project is expected to finish by May of 2017.

After almost three years of extensive and rigorous planning, the 86-year-old gym was demolished last fall to make room for the new gym.

It took the construction crew approximately a week to clear out all debris and begin the construction of the new gym.

Planning began after a $23.4 million donation from an anonymous donor, who was later revealed to be the Peery family.

The Palo Alto residents gave the donation in hopes of encouraging families to spend more time playing sports together.

The donation was not sufficient to fund the construction and the equipment for the new sports complex, so an additional $13 million was added by the Palo Alto Unified School District.

The finished product will comprise of two gyms connected by a long corridor surrounding the existing swimming pool, which will be left untouched throughout the construction process.

Both the gyms will be located in the same place as the two old gyms. The main gym will be sunken with a flat roof, while the smaller gym will have a peaked roof.

The architecture remains in accordance to that of the rest of the school, incorporating red brick shingles and beige walls.

Due to the absence of a gym, multiple Paly sports teams have been displaced and have been unable to practice or play home games at Paly. This has been an inconvenience for many athletes.

“Since we don’t have a gym, we have to practice and have all our home games at Gunn, which is kind of weird,” said Ervin Brown, varsity basketball player.

Without a pool, the aquatic sports teams are also unable to practice at Paly and have resorted to playing at other schools.

“The worst part about it is that we’re always playing away games,” said Jake Varner, varsity water polo player. “Even our home games are at Gunn, and that just doesn’t feel like our real home.”

The demolition of the old gym also created a shortage of lockers for Physical Education (P.E.). The issue was resolved by moving many of the P.E. lockers into two vacant rooms in the 700s building. However, there was not enough room for everyone to have their own locker, so the lockers must be shared and are only to be used during the student’s P.E. period.

“It’s going to be great,” Vice Principal Jerry Berkson said. “Everyone is talking about the new MAC and the math building and I think this one will be just as awesome.”

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