‘A gem’ of a gym: Renovations under way at Everett High

EVERETT — A well-worn gym floor will become a distinctive wall. And basketball players will find themselves running up the court in a new direction.

Those are among the changes coming to Everett High School’s gymnasium, now in the midst of major renovation.

Construction began in late 2012 and is being done in phases, said Andy Hall, an architect with Botesch, Nash &Hall Architects. The Everett firm designed the top-to-bottom updates for the gym at Wetmore Avenue and 24th Street.

Work won’t be finished when school starts Sept. 4. Hall said the north phase, with new locker rooms, an auxiliary gym and wrestling room, should be mostly finished by mid-September. “The rest of the building will be substantially completed at the end of December,” Hall said Wednesday.

Commercial Structures, Inc. of Burien is doing the work. The $10.1 million project is being paid for by the Everett School District’s 2006 capital improvement bond.

When finished, the facility will have a main gym, a practice court and another gym space, a new weight room, a fitness room and locker rooms.

The gym’s north portion was built in the 1960s, and the south part opened in 1980. Everett High’s main building on Colby Avenue marked its 100th anniversary in 2010. As a nod to the school’s history, elements from the old gym will be present in the new one.

“The center of the old gym floor — ‘School of Champions’ — will be in the north entry,” Hall said. In a hallway between that entry and the main gym, “the whole wall is going to be furred out with pieces of the old gym floor, instead of using sheetrock,” he said.

The main gym’s floor will be maple, Hall said. Players will see one significant change. It used to run north and south, but the new main court will pivot 90 degrees, to run east and west.

To get to the bleachers, visitors won’t have to go down stairs. “You’ll be able to walk right to the top of the bleachers from the north entry,” Hall said. A walkway will go all around the gym at that level.

The main court will have seating on all four sides.

“It will bring a little bit of the feel of the old ‘Pit,’ the old part of the high school,” Hall said. “It’s going to look like a mini KeyArena,” said Hal Beumel, director of facilities and planning for the Everett district.

Students shouldn’t count on getting out of PE when school starts. Temporary locker rooms and a small gym area are set up at the back of the nearby Everett Civic Auditorium’s lower level. A temporary weight room is in the vocational building, he said.

Everett High’s volleyball games and practices will be held at North Middle School this fall. Basketball practice starts in November, with games beginning in December. “They may play a lot of away games in the early part of the season, and then a lot of home games,” said Beumel.

But the new gym will be worth the wait.

“It’s going to be a gem,” Beumel said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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