Buff Gym getting upgrades this summer

by nathan oster

Renovations to the locker rooms at Buff Gym represent the largest portion of the nearly $400,000 in capital improvements being undertaken this summer by Big Horn County School District No. 3.

Joe Forcella, the district’s maintenance supervisor, said both the boys and girls locker rooms are being modernized with the installation of new flooring, lockers and fixtures. Also being addressed are the shower areas, including the two privacy stalls and community showers in the girls locker room. The boys locker room will continue to have community showers — but a privacy wall is being added to separate the shower and dressing areas.

“It’s a complete remodel,” Forcella said. While the configuration of the locker rooms isn’t changing, they will initially appear different to GHS athletes, he said, because benches will be closer to lockers, there will be more open space and lighting will be better.

He added that a rubberized flooring that is made for locker rooms is being installed.

While the gym project is the major one, there are a plethora of smaller ones as well.

The district got a jump on one project over spring break, installing new exterior doors at the Quigg Building.  The old ones were given a “2” on a condition survey done by the state, so that project got pushed up to the top of the priority list. “Anything that scores a 1 or a 2 has to be corrected first,” said Forcella. “We don’t have many things that fall into that (1 or 2) category.”

Forcella said the middle and elementary schools are getting the new electronic doors, similar to the ones that are already in place at the high school and in the gymnasiums.

At GHS, more carpeting is being replaced this summer.  The office, library and commons area were completed in phase one.  Phase two, which is up this summer, addresses the classrooms in the “A” wing.  Next year the wing that’s home to the band and choir rooms will get the new carpeting.

Forcella said the district is also planning to repair concrete in the parking lot areas, paint the exterior of the central office to match the color of the paint on its new vestibule, complete minor electrical work at the middle school and on the drapes at the elementary.

Funding for all of these projects will come from the major maintenance money that the town receives every year from the state.

One project that falls outside that major maintenance scope, however, is one that is being done with grant money to renovate the science room at GMS.  The plan is to reconfigure the room so that it is set up as “a more teachable environment.”