Shadyside H.S. to remodel its gymnasium this summer

A lot of talented players and good teams have played inside the Shadyside High School gymnasium since it opened in 1957.

There’s a common theme amongst all of them, too.

Every basketball player – boys and girls – that’s played inside the Tigers’ Den can say they played on exactly the same floor.

Taking it a step further, every person who’s ever watched a game in there has sat on the same wooden bleachers since it opened.

That’s about to change, however.

Shadyside High Superintendent and Principal John Haswell and Athletic Director John Triveri announced the plan to remodel the gymnasium, starting this summer with plans of a new floor and new bleachers expected to be installed before the students return to school in August.

“John kept repeating the mantra, ‘floor before bleachers,'” Haswell said. “We’ve been talking about this for a while, but I took this to the board in January.”

Each year since 1958, Shadyside High School has had issues with the court in terms of it coming up to a bow during the heat and humidity of the summer months.

“That floor has had problems since day one,” Haswell said. “We used to sit 45 pound weights, big fans blowing on it, so this is something that’s needed to be done for a long time.”

As new warps have come up, the floor has been worked on and pinned, but other spots continually popped up. It’s created many dead spots on the court.

“It’s starting to separate and raise to the point now where it’s becoming a safety issue and the Board of Education agreed,” Haswell said. “It used to just bubble, but it didn’t crack to the point where a kid could trip on it.”

Once Haswell, Triveri and other Shadyside officials began the process of looking into a new floor, it didn’t make sense not to do the bleachers.

“The bleachers have been pushed in and pulled out countless times and need to be replaced,” Haswell said.

The project, which will be bid out, is going to be paid for through “permanent improvement funds.”

“The lowest, best bid will get the job and we’re hoping they’ll start no later than June 2,” Haswell said. “From there, we’ll have a new, beautiful, Shadyside Tiger gym.”

Work has already begun inside the gymnasium. Members of the Shadyside High School OWE program are doing much of the labor of removing the old bleachers.

“We’re saving money by taking them out ourselves,” Haswell said.

Immediately following the last day of school for students this spring, which hasn’t been officially determined because of calamity days, work will begin.

“We have to have the people in as soon as we’re done with school to begin the work,” Haswell said.

It’s estimated to be a seven-week process to get the new floor down and bleachers installed.

“The gym is used a lot during the summer, but we’re going to have to displace everyone for at least seven weeks,” Haswell said.

Open gyms for basketball and volleyball as well as summer camps for those sports will be moved elsewhere or pushed back on the calendar.

“Those coaches know it and they’re happily making arrangements to take care of it,” Haswell said. “

Haswell said head volleyball coach Joel Joseph has already reached out to Bellaire about the possibility to gaining gym time during the process.

“I think any coach, or any person for that matter, will agree that this is something we’ve needed to do for a long time,” Haswell said. “

Haswell and Triveri are going to make a trip to Marietta High School to check out its gymnasium and have also looked at Strasburg High School’s relatively new facility for ideas.

“We’ll probably lose a little bit of seating capacity, but I am not concerned about losing a few seats because we’ll still have plenty of room for our fans,” Haswell said. “We’ll have to go by specs because everything will be handicap accessible.”

Because of the dimensions of the gym, Haswell indicated the scoring table will still be connected to the bleachers and the teams will continue to sit in the front row.

“We didn’t want that and it was the first question I asked, but we would only be able to go five rows of bleachers on that side,” Haswell said.

The coaching staffs, along with Haswell and Triveri, will sit down and discuss the designs on the floor.

“Those are decisions I won’t make all by myself,” Haswell said.

Neither Haswell, nor Triveri, had formally decided whether or not the gym will incorporate a new name or if there will be a formal dedication.

“It’s been a condensed process and really the only thought is how can we rectify the problems we have in (the gym),” Haswell said.

Haswell had a few people reach out about acquiring a piece of the bleachers, so the school is now selling engraved pieces for $25 and all of the proceeds will go to the athletic department. For more information on the bleacher boards, contact the high school.

“It’s a piece of gymnasium history,” Haswell said.

Staskey can be reached at