The old high school gym had a bold new look Tuesday morning, The new lower-level bleachers and handicap seating products arrived at Great Bend High School last week. Workers were busy assembling and installing them through the weekend. Dave Meter, GBHS athletics director was there to test them for the first time Monday night.
The bleachers, red with black lettering that spell out GBHS, recede into the gym walls on the north and south sides of the gym, and with the turn of a key, they automatically slide out into position, Meter said.
There is seating capacity for 668 which includes two handicapped acceptable cutouts on each side which provide seating for up to eight wheel chairs. Previously, those in wheelchairs had to watch the game from a corner of the gym, but now the high school will comply with standards set down by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project was approved by the USD 428 Board of Education in June, at a cost of $65,889 bid by R.L. Jackson and Associates of St. Charles, Mo.
The gym’s original bleachers, built of concrete and block, provide an additional 1,862 seats above the new bleachers.
“They don’t make gymnasiums like this one anymore,” Meter said. “You can’t do a lot when everything is set in concrete.”
No practices were interrupted because of the installation, he said. Thanks to the availability of space at the Panther Athletic Center, only the location of practice needed to be changed.
Patrons will have their first opportunity to try out the new seats after students return from winter break. All Panthers basketball games are out of town games up until then.