Construction planned for summer break

Alex Youtsey, News Editor

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Members of the girls freshman A basketball team fight for a loose ball in their game against Niles North on Nov. 28 in back gym D104. The size constraints of the back gyms have prompted a project to merge back gyms D104 and D106. The project is set to begin at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. Photo by Chloe Carroll

Parents crowd the athletics hallway, desperately craning their necks around fellow spectators for a glimpse of their child. The chairs lining the side of the gym are full, forcing parents to stand outside the cramped space. The lack of room in the back gyms of Glenbrook North has been an ongoing problem for players and spectators.

Junior Jack Joselit, a varsity basketball and volleyball player who played in the back gyms in prior years, said the small size has a negative impact on both spectators and players. He believes it forces players to watch out for the parents crammed along the sideline of the court during games, limiting their ability to play in some instances.

“I was always afraid maybe if I ran out of bounds I’d run into a parent,” Joselit said.

In an e-mail, Kim Ptak, director of operations for Glenbrook High School District #225, said construction projects to address several issues brought up by the administration and a 10-year safety audit are planned to begin immediately after the current school year ends and finish before school starts in August 2018. The projects have an estimated cost of $1.75 million and include merging gyms D104 and D106, the remodeling of the tennis courts, the repaving of the parking lots and the removal of asbestos from the second floor near the main gym.

Athletic Director John Catalano said the tennis court project will address the issue of the ground shifting underneath the courts, which causes cracks. The project is also intended to improve conditions for spectators and players, possibly by moving the courts further West to create more space at the end where bleachers are currently.

Sophomore Lara Pick, a varsity tennis player, said she hopes the remodeling of the tennis courts will improve conditions for spectators.

“During the season, there was this one parent who was standing on top of a bike because he wanted to be able to see over the windscreen [on the fence of the court],” said Pick. “Thankfully nothing happened to [him], but [spectating is] still an annoyance for parents.”

In addition to the tennis court remodeling, Catalano said the back gyms will be equipped with bleachers for spectators. These bleachers will be able to move depending on what sport or activity the facility is to be used for. A drop-down curtain will also be installed, which can divide the gym into two spaces when the combined gym is too large for an activity. With these additions, the back gyms will be able to more easily accommodate after-school sports.

Ryan Dul, P.E. teacher and gymnastics coach, said merging two back gyms would increase flexibility for gym teachers during their classes and create an alternative to the main gym for larger activities.

“For girls gymnastics, we host an annual girls invitation … where there are anywhere from 10 to 12 teams,” Dul said. “Obviously the gym we’re currently in is too small, and we’ve been hosting that meet in the main gym. Chances are, now, we’ll most likely be using the multi-purpose gym … which will leave the main gym open.”

Catalano said the projects will affect activities at school over the summer, such as camps, which will need to use the main gym and fieldhouse to compensate for the loss of the back gyms and tennis courts during construction. Despite these drawbacks, Catalano believes the projects will improve the sporting and viewing conditions.

“It’s all about enhancing the spectator [seating],” said Catalano. “It’s about the improvement for the students and really giving us flexibility to run events, which is what it’s all about. [It’s] for the kids.”

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Construction planned for summer break