Renovations have been made to the CCHS gym and work has begun on the tennis courts and track

by: JASON CHANEY - The finishing touches were put on the gymnasium floor last week. The floor was refinished and repainted for the first time since the school was built.

Ever since the schools bond was passed last fall, most people have focused on construction of a new elementary school.

However, Crook County School Board members are quick to remind people that nearly half of the $33 million provided by the bond will go toward long overdue maintenance projects.

“The new school is certainly the sexy part of the bond,” said board chair Patti Norris, “but all of the facilities have needed upgraded for years.”

Included in the list of upgrades are three major renovations to athletic facilities that are currently in various stages of repair. The gymnasium floor at Crook County High School was just refinished, and new bleachers are on the way later this summer. The high school tennis courts are currently under construction. The four existing courts will be replaced and two new ones will be added to the facility. Meanwhile, work is just about to begin on the Ward Rhoden Stadium track, which will get a new surface.

“It’s unbelievable,” said district athletic director Rob Bonner. “In the 15 years I have been here, I have been impressed time and time again with how the community supports its kids.”

Work done on the high school gymnasium not only improved the appearance of the 20-year-old facility, but improved its safety and functionality. Bonner said that the wooden bleachers were removed, and the floor was sanded down, then refinished.

“New lines were placed on the floor,” he continued. “Special consideration was given to P.E. classes, so there were agility ladders and things placed on the floor.”

Bonner added that the “CC” logo was painted on the floor, and the walls of the gym got a new coat of paint as well.

“It is really a classy facility,” he said of the end product.

The replacement bleachers are made of plastic, as opposed to metal and wood, and will sport the blue and gold school colors.

“One of the issues is the bleachers at the high school were just totally falling apart,” said board vice-chair Doug Smith. “Somebody was going to get hurt.”

Bonner added that they will be able to expand and retract the bleachers with the push of a button.

“Our old bleachers were broken for so long,” he said. “Coaches were in charge of pulling them out and pushing them back in after their events.”

In expanding the tennis courts from four to six, school leaders are hoping to attract additional events to the high school. Bonner noted that the minimum requirement for larger tennis tournaments is six courts.

“The two new ones we are putting in, we are going to add pickle ball and badminton (accommodations), so it will give some flexibility for P.E. classes to use some outdoor units,” he said.

Starting Monday, work will begin on the track. Bonner said it will get the same rubberized surface as before, but will have a thicker base and better drainage to improve longevity.

Like the improved tennis facilities, Smith believes the improved track will help the high school draw more competitions, which in turn will create a residual effect in the community.

“You may get a team or two spending the night,” he said.

Once completed, Bonner believes the upgrades will become a source of pride among student athletes as visiting teams come to town.

“Now, when opponents come from other Central Oregon schools or the (Willamette) Valley, we will not be looked down on as (having) second class facilities,” he said.

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