Athletes react to proposed changes in new facility

With the construction of the new gymnasium, students speak about the effect on practices and games

The 2014-15 school year will bring many changes to the Palo Alto High School campus. Students will be able to utilize brand new media arts and mathematics and social studies facilities, both of which will contain state of the art equipment. The upcoming school year, however, will most notably bring the closure of certain  athletic facilities, in particular the Big Gym and the pool.

For some, the Big Gym has been the home of many memories, from basketball games to the three-point shoot-out during Spirit Week.

“I’ve pretty much grown up in this gym playing basketball and it’s become like a home to me,” says sophomore Courtney Lovely, a member of the girls varsity basketball team. “I’m for sure going to miss it.”

Due to safety reasons regarding construction in the vicinity of the Big Gym, which is scheduled to be demolished on June 1, the pool will also be closed. This means Paly’s aquatic teams will be left without a place to practice and host games. Athletes on the water polo and swimming teams who relied on the availability of the Paly pool for daily practices are displeased with the pool’s closing.

“The pool during construction is actually not being changed, so it is very frustrating to me,” junior Sheila Subramanian, an athlete on both the varsity water polo team and varsity swim team said.

The swim teams and water polo teams do not have a definite plan as to where practices will take place during the construction. A likely option is the aquatic facilities at Henry M. Gunn High School, an alternative that members of these teams find troublesome.

“I [wouldn’t] mind if practice was at [Stanford University] because it’s right across the street,” Subramanian said. “The fact that we have to commute all the way to Gunn everyday for water polo is definitely a hassle. Hopefully, our swim team will be granted access to the [Avery Aquatic Center].”

Lovely agrees that practicing without a gym on campus causes inconvenience to the teams.

“[A] downside is that practicing next year is going to be tough because we will have to drive to another school for practice,” Lovely said. “We also won’t have any home games, which is a bummer.”

Many student athletes, while saddened or irritated by the demolition of the historic building and the closure of the pool, express excitement about the arrival of new facilities.

“It is sad that the Big Gym will have to go,” sophomore Claire Dennis said.  “[But] I feel like it is a step in the right direction. Having to use another facility for the upcoming season will be a challenge, but it’s a small price to pay.”

Dennis also notes that new facilities will be a key step in terms of publicity for Paly athletics.

“The publicity and excitement will lead to more support and fans in attendance for Paly athletics,” Dennis said.
Lovely echoes this sentiment.

“I’m pretty sure that in the long run it will all be worth it,” Lovely said.