(COVINGTON, La.) — With the new gym up and running, excitement is in the air as faculty and students take their first steps into the future of SPS athletics. The new facility was labeled with a price tag of $4.5 million, as compared to the old gym, which was built in the 1950s for $40,000.
“The (new) gym is fully insulated and is built around energy efficiency,” Principal Trevor Watkins said. “Although things like LED lights are expensive to put in, it saves us money in the long run because the energy bills are a lot lower.”
The old gym came at such a low cost thanks to numerous materials donations and because students and faculty helped provide much of the labor, drastically lowering the final price tag, according to the “St. Paul’s Story,” written by Bro. Ephrem Hebert.
On the other hand, donations to the school have largely helped with the school’s funds for the construction of the new gym.
“The school has received some major sponsors from various companies and families as of yet,” said Development Director Danielle Lavie.
Basketball players, who use the gym regularly, have thoroughly enjoyed the new court so far.
“The floor has better grip which makes it easier to play on, there is a lot more space, and it’s much cleaner,” sophomore basketball player Colin Quinlan said. “It just generally looks nicer.”
Although basketball players use the gym more than the majority of the student body, students across campus are just as thrilled to be in the new facility.
“The new gym is so much nicer than the older one,” sophomore Kelsey Whittemore said. “Plus, it smells really good.”
Other students are just happy to be able to have a seat during school assemblies.
“The best part about the new gym is having more than enough room to sit down,” sophomore Mason Robicheaux said. “Also, we have air conditioning, making the gym even more comfortable.”
According to Lavie, there have been copious amounts of sponsorships purchased to date, helping to defray the construction costs, but there are still some naming rights available to sponsors who’d like to be part of the ongoing campus legacy. Some of the sponsorship opportunities still available include the building name, the main court, the visitor side bleachers, the sound system, and one locker room.
The sponsorships provided to date include the home side bleachers, sponsored by the Joseph and Gwen Lacoste Family; the courtyard plaza, sponsored by John and Michelle Thompson; the multi-media classroom, sponsored by the St. Paul’s Mothers’ Club; the coaches’ office, sponsored by the Joseph A. Champagne Jr./Gene Bennett Memorial Golf Tournament; the lobby, sponsored by members of the class of 1982; scoreboards, sponsored by E. Tourelle’s Northpark Nissan-Hyundai, B&K Construction Company, LLC, and the Mediamolle family; the concession stand, sponsored by the Adrian and Sally Duplantier family; and two of the three locker rooms, sponsored by Dr. Kevin and Mary Thompson Darr, the Albright family, and John Curren, III.
For more information on gym sponsorships, visit the gym development page.
(photos by Christi Simoneaux)