By SETH STASKEY
Times Leader Sports Editor
SHADYSIDE - It's been a long time coming.
PICTURED IS the new floor and bleachers inside the Shadyside High School Gymnasium. The work just wrapped up a few weeks ago and the volleyball team christened the gym Monday against Bellaire.
The gymnasium at Shadyside High School had been in desperate need of a makeover.
The need was addressed this summer and the newly remodeled gymnasium, which includes a new floor, bleachers and scoring table, made its debut Monday evening when the Tigers' volleyball team took on Bellaire.
"It actually turned out better than what we had thought or expected," Shadyside Athletic Director John Triveri said. "This is now a first-class, state-of-the-art facility and gives our athletes something to be proud of. Kudos to our Board of Education and Superintendent and Principal John Haswell for allowing this project to go on."
The new bleachers cost Shadyside a bit of their capacity crowd, but that's a fair trade for what they have in terms of actual walkways up into the stands and much
Prior to the new bleachers, the Tiger Den held some 850 people comfortably.
"We lost a row of seating on each side and the stairways took some of our seating as well," Triveri said. "We're probably down anywhere from 75 to 100 seats, but the way the new bleachers are constructed has worked out great."
The work on the gymnasium actually began before school finished in May. Work-study students spent much of their days removing the old bleachers.
"The bleachers we had probably should have been condemned years ago," Triveri said. "This has been a long time coming. We're thankful because the community of Shadyside can now definitely be proud of this place."
Once that removal of the bleachers was complete, the asbestos abatement and removal of the old gym floor, which was 57 years old, began.
"That part took the greatest amount of time, but once they got that done and scraped out all of the tar that was beneath the floor, it went really smoothly," Triveri said.
Since the Shadyside gymnasium isn't air conditioning, the wood underneath the actual playing surface "has some built in movement to it," according to Triveri. That was installed with hopes of the floor not bowing like the previous one did basically each summer.
"That will allow for expansion and contraction with the weather," Triveri said. "We don't anticipate any problems with the floor."
The complete project isn't quite finished, either.
Four new backboards and basketball rims will be erected in the coming weeks along with a system that will allow the baskets to be lifted automatically rather than the current system which requires an individual to crank the hoops up and down.
The scorer's table is also state-of-the-art. It has the Shadyside logo on the front, it's padded and is all electronic.
"The old table was permanently attached, but we're able to move this one in and out of the gym as needed," Triveri said.
The crews wrapped up their work a few weeks ago and the volleyball team was able to hold a few of its practices in the gymnasium.
"The work was on schedule," Triveri said.
An informal open house will be held this afternoon from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m.