New Batavia field house up and running
Comparing it to the purchase of a new car, Batavia High School physical education teacher Mike Mandele doesn't want to see a scratch on his new field house.
"This cost way too much money to have somebody hack it up," he told his students Tuesday, while reviewing the rules that he hopes will keep the 56,000-square-foot facility pristine. Chewing gum, water bottles, street shoes, food and backpacks are on the list of prohibited items.
"We've been hurting for space for so long. This is well-deserved and well-needed," the 30-year staff member later said.
Students began using the field house Monday.
It was approved as part of a $75 million referendum in 2007 that called for expanding the high school by adding classrooms, the field house and auditorium, as well as expanding Rotolo Middle School and improving several other schools.
The auditorium is the last item remaining, and is due to be finished by fall.
The field house includes four basketball courts and a six-lane, 200-meter track. There is a sand pit for long-jumping and pole-vaulting. No longer will the indoor track team practice by running around school hallways. The first meet will take place Friday.
Physical Education Department Chairman Katie Keller said the extra space means more students can participate in a class activity at the same time, instead of having to rotate in and out of games. Scheduling is easier, especially spring sports such as track and softball, which start their practices indoors before weather warms up. Before, students had practices as early as 6 a.m.
Students "are excited about coming to class," Keller said.
The school plans to have a public open house in the spring.