Southwestern Officially Opens Gym

The Southwestern Central School District held its grand opening ceremony for its new gymnasium. The total project that included a new gymnasium cost $15.9 million. P-J Photo by Jordan W. Patterson

A project that began in the fall of 2017 is now complete as the Southwestern Central School District opened its doors to the newly constructed gymnasium.

Prior to the first boys and girls home basketball game, an official grand opening ceremony was held to honor the completion of the gymnasium.

“This has been a long time coming, but we are just thrilled,” said Maureen Donahue, superintendent. “The facility is breathtaking. It turned out better than we ever imagined. It’s beyond what we thought would happen.”

In August, Donahue said the project was on schedule noting that the district was hoping to have the gym open for the first home game – the district accomplished just that.

The primary changes to the school from the current phase of the project involve the auditorium and the newly-constructed gymnasium. The Erie, Pa.-based Perry Construction Group serves as the general contractor. Other changes included renovations to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Music (STEAM) rooms. The new gym, including its athletic facility entrance, is much larger than the old one with more bleacher seating and additional space in-between the main court and bleachers. Perry Construction Group lifted the first wall into place in February.

Superintendent Maureen Donahue addressed those gathered prior to the first home basketball game honoring individuals who were involved with the gymnasium project. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

A new wellness center included in the project is scheduled to be completed by March.

Donahue addressed those in attendance prior to the actual game honoring those involved with the project. Additionally, a video was played that highlighted the project.

Members from the architecture firm Clark Patterson Lee and members of Perry Construction Group were present. Members of the board of education were also in attendance.

Donahue said, as of late, employees of Perry Construction were putting in extra hours to ensure the gym was finished before last night’s game.

“In fact, the week of Thanksgiving they only went home on the day of Thanksgiving,” Donahue said.

Donahue said the preparation for Tuesday’s grand opening felt similar to preparing for a wedding as everyone wanted to look their best.

The overall project totals $15.9 million that was approved by district voters in October 2015. Work to complete the project began in the fall of 2017.

“This is huge for us,” Donahue said about the gymnasium. “You only build a gym every 50 years.”