The iconic art deco gym at Boise High will once again host the Braves’ athletic competitions.
Voters in the Boise School District overwhelmingly passed a $172.5 million bond in March, with $17,985,500 earmarked for a remodel of the school’s gym and performing arts center. Boise High principal Robb Thompson said as long as the project passes all the architectural approvals, remodeling will begin this summer with the goal of opening in time for the 2018-19 basketball season.
“That building has special meaning to the community,” Thompson said. “And obviously we have an interest in preserving that, while at the same time moving forward as a school and a district so it benefits the students we have right now.”
Built in 1936 by the Public Works Administration, the gym has fallen into disrepair. Its basketball court no longer meets size requirements, the ceiling of the wrestling room is caving in and the building doesn’t comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
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Boise still uses the old gym for physical education classes, shifting into the gym next door for its basketball and volleyball games. But the current gym lacks locker-room showers and only seats approximately 1,200. The renovated historic gym will hold nearly 2,000, Thompson said.
“We’ve had, in the last couple basketball seasons, big games where we’ve had to turn people away because we ran out of space,” he said.
Thompson said the brick facade and the brick-and-marble entrances to the gym will remain, and so will the original ceiling beams. The bulk of the remodel will focus on the interior.
“It’ll look like it does now from the outside, only cleaner and newer,” Thompson said. “But it’ll be original brick work, which is pretty neat.”
The renovation also includes expanded locker rooms, a weight room and a training room, as well as the addition of classrooms for physical education. The gym will share a lobby with the renovated and expanded performing arts center, originally built in 1956.
Boise will continue to use its current gym, opened in fall of 1998, in the meantime. It’ll remain as an auxiliary gym for its PE classes and athletic teams once the renovated gym is finished.