Barnesville beginning gym remodel project

The gymnasiums at Barnesville High School, Middle School and Elementary School are about to undergo a makeover.

A several phase project is about to get underway with the first phase, at all three schools, expected to be completed by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Included in the renovations will be new scoreboards, scoring tables, wall pads and a refurbished floor. The high school gym will also get new backboards that feature a light that is in sync with the clock.

None of this work will utilize school money to complete since Barnesville’s Booster Club is working with Scholastic Sports Marketing, which will help raise sponsorship revenue necessary to fund the project.

“We’d been talking, probably for over a year, that we needed to do some things with our gymnasiums,” Barnesville Athletic Director Mark Cook said.

“We talked it over with our coaches and had all kinds of ideas that we tossed around.”

The first phase will be the installation of new scoreboards at all three venues. According the plan, the scoreboards will be ordered in June and the installation process will begin in early August.

“The scoreboards will be wireless and have LED lighting and will really add to the looks of our gymnasiums,” Cook continued.

Barnesville elected to have all three gymnasiums done, basically at the same time, because all are utilized during the school year.

“In this type of project, we thought, why disregard one and only do two?” Cook said. “We thought it would be most efficient to take care of all three in a one-time shot.”

Plus, the gymnasiums are arguably the most used facilities in the district between sports, graduations, community events and so on.

“Our gyms definitely get a lot of action,” Cook said. “So, the need and time was there to upgrade.”

The funding will determine how quickly the phases of the project get completed. As more and more money becomes available the work will continue.

“We have some target dates in mind,” Cook said.

The final phase will be the refurbishing of the floor because it’ll take the longest and shutting down the gymnasium for nearly a two-month period is tough.

“We’re looking at making the floors a three-year project,” Cook said. “We’ll do one gym and then another and then the third one.”

Because the need for gymnasium improvements was desired, Cook said some of the Barnesville coaches had indicated they’d be willing to go out and solicit donations themselves.

“I didn’t think that was fair to our coaches to have them doing that,” Cook said. “I just don’t think that’s a good situation, even though our coaches weren’t opposed. Plus, once the project started to escalate with other needs, we started talking about a large amount of money.”

That’s when it became evident the need to utilize the marketing group would be the route to take.

The school administration got the booster group involved and talked with other schools in the area about their dealing with the marketing group.

“Everything we heard about James Companion and SSM was positive,” Cook said. “We had a lot of discussions, as an administration, on this and James and his company was on board with us, so we signed the marketing agreement and got the ball rolling.”

Companion and the SSM group helped orchestrate the scoreboard project at St. Clairsville’s Red Devil Stadium. It’s also the chief marketing arm of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.