© Herald file photo
Carlton High School’s new gym, seen here under construction last summer, will have a grand opening celebration on Jan. 30.
After years of waiting, Carlton Comprehensive High School is getting a much-anticipated addition.
A celebration will be held on Jan. 30 for the new gymnasium that has been in development for the last year.
“We have a brand new gym facility that will be opening,” vice principal Jeff Court said. “It has been a long time coming. We have been hearing about it and plans have been in place for the better part of seven or eight years.”
Court said the new gym will be a great asset to the school in a variety of ways.
“It is just in our school community a really exciting time just because there are lots of kids that will benefit from being able to access a facility like that,” Court said.
The gym, which is about one and a half times bigger than the current red gym, will help with programming.
“The biggest part for us is with the size of our school, our gym programming and physical education programming will benefit from it because more kids will be able to access health and wellness,” Court said. “Everybody from our alternative education programming will enjoy it to -- kids that are planning on being elite athletes. That is an exciting part from the programming part.”
For regular programming, there are some class periods where there are up to six physical education classes running at one time.
“We’ve got kids in our school that could benefit from taking part in that as well who aren’t just because we don’t have the facility,” Court said.
It will also help with team sports, giving more space for them to practise.
“We also have the extracurricular side of things where we have teams for everybody who wants to play,” Court said. “Currently we have kids who come to our school from about 40 minutes out of town so sometimes they play on teams that practise until 9:30 p.m. and then to have drive home afterwards.”
With a second gym, more than one practice can be scheduled at the same time, eliminating many late practices.
“It is just going to add so much more space and activity space for kids to take part in health and wellness,” Court said.
There was a large need for the second gym for a number of years, he explained.
“Seven or eight years ago, our school board was looking into it,” Court said. “That obviously takes some provincial government decision-making as well to look at our school population and the needs of our school as well to invest in infrastructure like that.”
The facility, which is located at the back end of the Frank Dunn Pool where the old tennis courts used to be located, has been set up to mime the rest of the school.
“I haven’t been in it in a while but the way they laid everything out, they did a good job of keeping the flow of our existing facility and into our new facility -- melding the original facility with the new facility,” Court said.
The celebration will be on the afternoon of Jan. 30, Court said, with a small luncheon in the library for guests, then heading into the new gymnasium at 1 p.m. for a program and activities.
The program will not be a typical afternoon of speeches and they have some exciting activities planned, Court said.
“There are some souvenirs and different things we have going on -- it will be a really electric atmosphere in terms of what we have planned for the opening ceremonies,” Court said. “It is not going to be the typically speaker and sit there for two hours listening to people talk. We will obviously have some (speakers) but there will be activities as well.”
“It is a really exciting day for us to get going,” Court added. “We are welcoming as many people as want to come and take part in the opening to do so.”
Court said most people have not seen the facility yet.
“The student body hasn’t been in, many of our staff have not been in,” Court said. “We have tried to keep it as closed off as possible so everyone has that opportunity to see it for the first time and that excitement can build through that. We are really excited for next Thursday to come.”