Master Facility Plan needs to consider gym space

Natalie White, Editor-In-Chief

On the underground track, runners are jumping over something other than hurdles, a rolling basketball. In the weightroom, the softball team raises dumbbells, five feet away badminton does squat jumps, boys’ sprinters start practice and baseball finishes their after school workouts. Athletes running into each other is no surprising sight. A few floors above, wrestling practices in the pool balcony while Athenas turn on the cement Purple Gym Balcony. Color guard and lacrosse squeeze in where they can.

This is not the fault of the Athletic Directors; the recreational spaces are packed every minute that they can be.

This lack of space causes safety issues for almost all athletic teams.

The Master Facility Plan (MFP) plans to repurpose the white gym into a loading dock, and build a new gym where the outdoor area that currently holds outdoor cafeteria seating and Driver’s Education parking are. Pessimistically, it seems hard to believe that this new gym will cause any real change in our lack of gym space. While it may increase the size by a few square feet, this will not make room for the several cramped sports competing for space.

If the referendum is passed, District 99 needs to utilize this new space to its maximum capability and seriously consider gym space as a priority.

While the learning commons added in the MFP will increase access to counselors, students would benefit more from an increase in practice facilities.

Exercise naturally increases endorphins and time spent with peers helps develop lasting relationships. Access to a counselor is important, but being physically closer to help is not as important as opening an outlet to increased socialization.

Additionally, if gym space increases, more sports will be able to practice right after school. This would decrease the amount of students unable to participate due to transportation issues, and allow more opportunity.

If the referendum gets approved on Mar. 20, the administration, community members and students need to speak up for the gym space. Anyone who has spent five minutes in the facilities in the cold seasons know this is an issue.