|The girls' basketball teams played the inaugural game in the newly renovated Highlands gym. They played Notre Dame Academy on Jan. 5, 2016. FTM file//D. Ketcham.|
In all the madness of Highlands High School thus school year, yet another advancement came to the nest. Between the new light fixtures to the addition of Highlands' very own field house, the school’s faced many improvements regarding the enhancement of the athletics department.
On Tuesday, January 5th the new gym was finally released to the public eye after a 10-month process. when the girls' Freshman, J.V. and Varsity basketball teams hosted Notre Dame Academy.
All in all, the loss of the gym during that time period showed great inconvenience. The girls' volleyball team was not able to use the gym to compete, instead having to use alternatives such as the middle school gym. This came to be a big disappointment to thee seniors who were not able to participate in the games in the new gym their final year.
One player, however, wasn’t able to say that.
Senior Varsity volleyball player Izzy Schultz is also a member of the girls' varsity basketball team. The student body and parents were able to come out and support their Birds while taking in and experiencing the new and improved gymnasium and finally regaining their home court advantage status after not having that opportunity for so long.
The old gym had a long stretch of love, for it impacted so many people and was home to several thousand. “I was originally upset about not being able to spend my whole senior year in our true home, but things happen and I understand that. I’m just glad we got to finish our season off right and now that we are back it feels right and normal,” said Schultz.
Principal Brian Robinson was also excited about the gym renovations being complete and updated to its now state-of-the-art status.
“The gym wasn’t necessarily deemed unsafe. It was just not as accessible as it should be for this modern day generation. People who were unable to climb stairs had to take a long alternate route, and once people finally got to the destination, it wasn’t very eye-catching,” he said.
To fix that issue, the gym was highly designed for all people to gain easy access. There are no longer stairs to the gym, just flat ground. Inside the gym the bleachers are equipped to further assist handicapped people, with larger walking space and rails. But the unique aspects don’t stop there. Rumor has it, the gym’s colorful lobby is to have a chandelier hung in the middle of the large LED light stationed in the middle. It will be able to change colors, depending on the season, holidays, or special occasions. There’s still some work to do, at an appearance standpoint rather than the constructional being.
|FTM file//D. Ketcham.|
Highlands' head basketball coach, Jaime Richey, was anxious to get her home court advantage back. Practices were held at Regents hall located at Northern Kentucky University.
“Fort Thomas did an unbelievable job the design of this gym. We went from having one of the worst gyms to now, easily the best,” she said.
Kennon Burns, Highlands' P.E. teacher is also excited to be able to use the new facilities. She said that while the also-new fitness center is her primary instruction facility, about 30% of what she'd normally teach couldn't be instituted without the gym.
"(I'm) excited for the amazing facilities and grateful to those who made it happen. (From having) leaks in the gym (to) having the best facilities for a high school and being able to use several different areas for teaching to fit different needs (is important,)" she said.
According to Schultz, she believes the gym should always be respected and not taken for granted, for it will soon become home to new generations.
"Appreciate all that the new gym has to offer, especially the air conditioning,” she said.
|FTM file//D. Ketcham.|
|FTM file// D. Ketcham.|