We are onto our 5th segment of introducing the new Perham High School, and the last before the school opens its doors to the public for the first time. For this segment, we are going to introduce you to the new gymnasium and athletic spaces. You may not even realize it, but gymnasiums are some of the most heavily used spaces in schools. With physical education classes throughout the day and practices or games in the evenings, it is not uncommon for gyms to be in use for upwards of 15 hours in a given day.
Affectionately known as The Hive, the new gymnasium is where we’ll show our Yellowjacket Pride. From the decals on the floor to the murals on the walls, we are showcasing the pride we have for our school district and the successes that we’ve had in our athletic programs.
The athletic complex includes a three-station gymnasium with stadium style bleachers, a weight room, a wrestling room, three locker rooms, a training room, a health room, and an elevated walking track. Each of these spaces can be used for different types of programming from physical education to athletic programs to hosting community events. Having various styles and types of spaces allows physical education instructors to get creative in their program offerings. The connection to Prairie Wind Middle School will allow middle school students and staff to be able to utilize the gym for physical education as well.
The gym is set up stadium seating style with retractable bleachers coming out on all four sides and a competition court in the middle. There are roughly 2,200 seats when all four sets of bleachers are pulled out, which is about 1,000 more than the middle school gym. This is a rather unique set up for a high school, but it allows us more versatility in showcasing the programs that we are proud of. It allows for student sections and dedicated pep band areas that make the fan experience more friendly for everyone. It also allows for more flexibility for other events such as graduation, concerts, programs, and more.
The gym floor itself contains a variety of different attachment features. It is set up with a pole vaulting box, which is a trapezoidal indentation on the floor. When the covering is off, it can be used as the place where vaulters plant their pole to begin their jump. This allows our students to get practice indoors when the conditions outside are less than desirable. The floor is also installed with the floor hardware necessary for the gymnastics equipment to be set up for larger invites or section tournaments.
An elevated walking track surrounds the upper level of the gymnasium, which allows for sight lines from teachers throughout the school day. In the evenings, the track will be used for student practices or become an observation deck with extra standing room during events. The east and west bleacher banks have the ability to top load from the observation deck to make it easier on those that can’t easily make the climb up the bleachers.
Around the track, there were acoustic tiles that needed to be placed on the walls. We had the opportunity to turn those tiles into murals that highlight and recognize players, coaches, and teams that made an impact during their era. Eras range from the 1930s with Fritz Hanson all the way up to last fall’s boys and girls State Cross Country Championships.
Natural light has been a recurring theme throughout the entire facility, and it is no different in the gymnasium and associated spaces. The exterior and interior windows of the weight room and wrestling room on the upper level allow secondary natural light to flow into the gymnasium.
The layout of the gymnasium created a wider space on one side of the track, which was utilized for a stretch of turf. There are many creative ways to train and workout athletes with turf, such as sled pushes and pulls. Ladder work and plyometric areas were also painted into the turf, which is a great fitness challenge for students of all abilities. As an added bonus, the turf section costs less per square foot than the original mondo flooring that was quoted making it an economical upgrade.
A variety of equipment will be available for students in the weight room. There are plyo platforms built into the floor, as well as programmable high speed treadmills and a set of spinning bikes. Lift racks, free weights, and dumbbells will also be available for students to use whether they are in a gym class or training for a sport. The versatile equipment can also be used by injured athletes as they recover.
The wrestling room is large enough for two mats for practice, but can also be used as an extension of the weight room or for programming throughout the day. Ladders and other plyometric workouts were worked into the mondo flooring, which allows athletes to train without having to pull out any other equipment. There is also a ninja rope system, similar to monkey bars, in which 92 – 18 inch ropes hang from beams.
On the lower level, there are three locker rooms with a designated locker room for visitors. The extra locker room will allow the visitors to have their own space without kicking bags of our own students into a hallway while they are still practicing. The locker rooms will be secure during event nights with double doors at both ends of the hallway that will keep the space on lockdown. Athletes will not be entering or exiting with the general public.
For the first time, Perham-Dent Schools will have a full-time trainer on staff thanks to our partnership with Perham Health Sports Medicine. The trainer will not only see athletes, but help with injury prevention and therapy. She’ll also be available during events, so we can be sure to get all student-athletes the urgent care needed when an injury pops up during competition.
As you can tell, there are exciting things happening in physical education and activities. With these new spaces, it is our goal to have nearly all our programs be able to practice after school. If we can avoid stacking practices the majority of the time, we can get students home to be with their families, do their schoolwork, and have some much needed time off.
For more information on the building process, including photos and updates, click here!