By LESLIE COLLINS
August 14, 2013
Over the summer, Northeast High School received a number of upgrades, including the installation of air conditioning, energy efficient lights and windows, among other improvements.
Now, the gymnasium is also receiving a facelift.
“I’m just really excited,” NEHS Athletic Director Jim Conaway said. “In the four years that I’ve been here, we haven’t experienced this many things done to improve our facilities.”
In the gym, crews sanded down and removed graffiti from the bleachers and polished them to a shiny finish. For the first time in its history, the gymnasium now features air conditioning and the black and pink tiles in the front entrance will soon be swapped out with the school colors of purple and white. The N Club has raised funding for new sign boards and banners to honor past team accomplishments and promote school pride. Conaway said the school is working toward establishing a hall of fame for past stellar athletes, which would be displayed in the hallway leading to the locker rooms. School officials are drafting guidelines and will form a committee to nominate past athletes, he said.
A fresh purple trim now accents the gymnasium and NEHS is in the process of installing new volleyball standards, which are the poles that hold up the volleyball net.
“Those standards were the same ones that were there when they built the gym in 1988, and they’ve just become old and rickety,” he said. “We’ve had to improvise. I’m not exaggerating when I’ve said we’ve used bubblegum and fingernail polish to hold them together. Sometimes we have officials that come in and they’re not too happy with what they have to work with.”
What sets the NEHS gym apart from other school gyms is that there’s enough space to play two volleyball matches simultaneously.
“It allows us more flexibility,” Conaway said of the gym’s size. “We can play JV and a varsity match at the same time. We can host a double duel match.”
Now with the new volleyball standards, NEHS will host its first district tournament on-site for the first time in the school’s history, he said. Although NEHS has hosted past district events for an array of sports, the events have always been held off-site, like at the Interscholastic League grounds, he said.
This year, NEHS will host the Class III District 15 volleyball tournament which will include six teams: NEHS, Central, East, Smithville, St. Pius and Van Horn.
Not only will it show off the NEHS campus, the tournament will also boost the local economy with teams and fans purchasing fuel and meals, he said.
“We’re just excited to bring an event like this to the Northeast area,” he said.