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VHS gets gym upgrade

Verbena’s gymnasium was built about 50 years ago, and it hasn’t aged very well.

The gym has been a source of embarrassment for VHS basketball players, with its antiquated bleachers and buckling floor, but maybe not after some summer renovations.

“Hopefully, it’ll help instill some pride in the programs and our school,” said Jonathan Shedd, who coaches the boys and the girls basketball teams. “They’ve been hearing other people that come in and talk about their gym, how bad it is.”

When school starts back, the gym should feature improved lighting and a brand new floor and bleachers.

School Superintendent Keith Moore said work could also be done on the locker rooms.

The project, which is being completed by Covington Flooring Company in Birmingham, began soon after school ended in May. The old floor has been taken up and the new floor laid, but it will still have to be painted and finished, and the bleachers have to be installed.

The bleachers will have four rows of seats instead of three like in the past. The bleachers shouldn’t take up any more room, though, because they will feature a more modern design.

School Principal Larry Raines said the floor has been a problem every summer in his 15 years at Verbena, but this year the buckling was particularly bad.

The floor was tarred directly to the concrete, so any moisture that accumulated was trapped and caused the wood to buckle. The new floor was built with two layers of plastic and foam strips between the concrete and the wood, allowing room for potential moisture to accumulate without affecting the top layer.

Basketball players this summer have been working out in the weight room adjacent to the gym four mornings a week. Shedd said they always peek into the gym to see how the project is progressing.

“They’re excited about it,” he said.

Shedd said anyone willing to donate money, time or supplies to repainting the gym should call the school at 280-2820 or e-mail Shedd at jbshedd@chilton.k12.al.us.