The long-awaited renovation of McClain’s new gym lobby and locker area will begin soon with a groundbreaking ceremony slated for Monday during a regular session of the Greenfield Exempted Village Board of Education meeting.
The renovation has been talked about for more than a decade, superintendent Quincey Gray said in late 2019 when the proposed project made its way in front of the school board. Initially, it was hoped that the project could begin last spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those plans. Last month, the contract for the project was approved by board members.
The project will extend the east side of the gym lobby out into the courtyard to where planters, which will remain, are currently located. The entrance doors will remain as they are. The expansion will allow for more room on the first floor to add ticketing and concession areas, and more space on the second floor for additional locker-room space in both the girls and boys areas.
The second-floor locker-room expansion is what Gray previously called the “driving force” behind the whole renovation. The larger locker room area will provide more appropriate changing areas for not only home and visiting athletes, but also for student members of the drama department to change during plays and musicals instead of using a tiny room off the stage area.
As has been the case for a long time, there is no ticketing space within the lobby area, and concessions are sold from a small room in the old gym. With the expansion, there will not only be dedicated space for ticketing, but also for concessions. All the equipment for the latter, Gray said, is being provided by the McClain Athletic Boosters.
The plans also include the much-needed renovation of the restrooms in the first-floor lobby.
In preparation for the project to begin, the lobby has been cleared of all its trophies, photos and memorabilia, as well as the Waddell Company-made cases that have long held the treasures.
Gray said there has been assistance with the storage of all items from the cases. She said the district asked Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin to reach out to the village’s industrial roundtable members to see if anyone was willing and able to lend a hand. Huhtamaki answered the call with two Sewell semi trailers that are helping with the storage needs. Those are being kept at Greenfield Research.
Gray said the Waddell Company in Greenfield is making the new cases for the lobby, and the old cases have been distributed to other buildings in the district, with the exception of one which was given to the Presbyterian church.
The purple carpet throughout the lobby, which has been hard to keep clean with all the traffic it sees, will be replaced with the epoxy flooring that is installed in the hallways outside the new gym.
The anticipated finish date of the project is the first of November. Gray said that the new gym will be fully accessible during the renovation. Additionally, the district will make sure alternate travel paths for students are in place once the new school year begins in mid-August since the renovation will still be in progress.
“Our district is excited to be moving forward with this project. It has been in the idea stage for quite a while, and then the work was paused due to COVID-19,” Gray said. “We are now ready to proceed with the project, which will benefit our students, staff, families, the McClain Athletic Boosters, and community members for years to come.”
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held during the school board meeting scheduled for Monday, June 28 in the McClain cafeteria at 7 p.m.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.