FRASER — Ten-month-old Ian Edghill was the first person to try out the new Fraser High School gymnasium.
During a ceremony to unveil the new 13,000-square-foot gymnasium that will allow for more student sports and activities, Edghill crawled several feet across the shiny gym floor as Fraser Public Schools Board President Gerry Gauthier addressed the crowd.
“He’s ready to play ball,” the school official said.
On Dec. 13, school board members, staff and community members gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new auxiliary gym. Having a second gymnasium will allow for more events to occur simultaneously, including tournaments, athletic games, practices and more. The two gyms are designed to reduce the number of late practice times and give athletes additional practice space.
The new gymnasium is one of many projects made possible through the district’s $19.9 million bond issue, which passed in February 2011.
“For our community to give us the support, we knew we had to be good stewards of the money,” FPS Superintendent David Richards said. “This gives us a lot of flexibility to hold tournaments. I’m just really proud of everyone who put this together.”
Many people were skeptical when school officials went out for a bond a few years ago.
“People thought it would fail,” Richards said. “Thank you for your support. You see now it was worth it.”
The new auxiliary gym features new bleachers, a new concession stand area, new restrooms and new team rooms. It’s accessible through the main doors off the parking lot.
“Thank you to the community,” Gauthier said. “You trusted us … to go ahead and do this.”
Construction on the new gym began in April. The project was slated to open in January 2013, but crews finished ahead of schedule. The price tag for the new gym was $3 million, and a few dollars were shaved off because the project came in approximately $280,000 under budget.
Board member Laura Edghill, who brought her family, including Ian, the crawler, and sons Sean, 9, and Lance, 5, was pleased with the gymnasium’s outcome.
“It looks fantastic,” she said. “I’m just so excited for our kids that they’re going to be able to use this. I’m very grateful to the community to be open to doing something like this.”
Wakely Associates, Inc., Architects, which has several offices, including one located in Warren, were the project’s architects. Barton Malow, based in Southfield, was the construction company. Representatives from both companies attended last week’s ceremony.
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