New gym open at Palisade High School thanks to bond money

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Palisade High School's new auxiliary gym is officially open. Tuesday was the ribbon cutting and open house for the community to see exactly where their tax dollars went.

Most high schools across the state have at least two gyms. Palisade has been utilizing one gym since it was built back in 1992.

“It’s long overdue and the people are starting to see that and it’s really making a difference with our kids, I mean we are just getting started on things that need to be done,” said Paul Pitton, school board member.

After breaking ground in May, the gym is ready for students. Shiny new wood floors, modern-day locker rooms, and state of the art training rooms are all part of the school's southern expansion.

"It was almost like the groundbreaking wasn't real, you know, it was all just a dream and now that we actually walk through the hall into the new areas, I get chills,” said Dan Bollinger, PHS principal.

Staff and students agree, they say the new space will offer more elbow room and help save time.

"It will give me more time after school because we have that earlier practice to get homework done,” said Watts Erb, junior, Palisade High School.

"It's exciting that we’ve got four courts where six teams can practice on,” said Bollinger.

Before the new gym, practices were staggered, some kids had to start at 5 a.m. Other sports like cheerleading, had to practice in the hallways.

"We’ve got three P.E. teachers so we would have 100 kids in P.E. trying to use one gym when the weather is cold,” said Bollinger.

It’s all thanks to the bond measure that was voted on and passed in 2017. Out of $118.5 million, $5 million went directly to this gym.

"Kids are involved and engaged in so many more activities there's never enough space as there is but this makes it very nice,” said Diana Sirko, D51 Superintendent.

However, the students favorite part is the new locker rooms. They offer more space to all students and a place to securely store their items for athletes.

"I think the best part is the fact that we have actual showers now instead of just these pole showers, we have some privacy with curtains and they actually work,” said Taygen Smith, Junior, Palisade High School.

The bond measure also includes funding for high priority maintenance projects, technology, safety projects, and replacement for Orchard Mesa Middle School.

Dual Immersion Academy also got a new gym, which opened back in January.

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