Construction Begins on New Hesperia Junior Gym

Hesperia Star
Thursday, May 19, 2011 Beau Yarbrough

 
Golden shovels await the ceremonial turning of the earth at Hesperia Junior High School. Photo by Beau Yarbrough

After more than 40 years, construction has begun on a standalone gymnasium for Hesperia Junior High School.

More than 100 dignitaries and school officials gathered on the school's campus Thursday afternoon for a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 15,000 square foot new gymnasium.

"Although long overdue, we are thrilled to finally provide ... a venue for athletic and special events," Hesperia Unified Superintendent Mark McKinney told the assembled audience.

The Victor Valley Union High School District originally built the school in 1965 without a separate gymnasium and, as a result, generations of Roadrunners have exercised and eaten in the same room, just reconfigured by staff between class periods.

"This is a very, very exciting time for us," said Hesperia Junior High School Principal Robert McCollum. "This is something that our school has been longing for, for 40 years."

The $5.5 million cost for the gym will be split between the district and state matching funds, which the state approved last year. (The $2.7 million spent by the HUSD are from a separate category of funds than those used to pay for salaries and benefits -- these facilities funds cannot be used to pay for teachers or staff.)

"We love building schools," said Dave Erickson, CEO of Erickson-Hall Construction, which is building the gym, "Because of what we see going on inside when we're done."

"I taught here. My kids came through here. I came back here as an administrator," said McCollum. "We have a family here."

The gym is scheduled to be finished by Aug. 1, 2012. A separate locker room facility will also be renovated next summer.