Viking Activity Center project to add gym space to Grayling High School
School officials expect construction on the facility to begin in the spring and be done in the fall of 2019
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School will be expanding its physical education facilities next year with the construction of the Viking Activity Center, an addition to the school that will have indoor courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis, and pickleball, as well as areas for track and baseball/softball and golf.
“It’s definitely an exciting project for our athletes and also the community as a whole,” said Grayling High School Athletic Director Nate Maury.
Maury said the addition will be built on the front of the school (the side facing Old 27), offering an expansion of the existing gymnasium with a building that can also function as its own separate facility.
Maury said the surface for the new Viking Activity Center will be a “poured rubber floor” instead of a traditional wooden gymnasium, allowing for greater flexibility with regard to possible uses.
“This allows us to have a multitude of different sports in there and not worry about damaging the gym floor,” Maury said. “You can play pretty much anything you want on it.”
The facility would also be available for rent to the community for large events such as craft shows, Maury said.
“The amount of things you can do with this gym is endless,” Maury said.
According to the plans, the Viking Activity Center will have a basketball court, a volleyball court, a tennis court, and multiple pickleball courts. The facility will have an elevator, and the upstairs portion will have a batting cage with turf for use in baseball, softball, and golf practices, and it will have a track for walking/running that will connect with the existing Grayling High School gymnasium.
The Viking Activity Center will also have a small set of retractable bleachers on one side and two new changing rooms, according to the plans.
The track extending into the current gymnasium will create a balcony-type walkway that will go behind the existing gym’s basketball backboards.
“That’s the only change to the current gym,” Maury said.
During the winter season – a campaign that includes boys basketball, girls basketball, and wrestling, in addition to open gym sessions for spring sports – there is not always enough gymnasium time for everyone. Same thing in the spring before the snow melts. Sometimes teams go to the middle school to practice during both the winter and spring sports seasons; Maury said the new facility should eliminate the need to travel for practices for the teams that need indoor space.
It also allows for more space for the school’s physical education classes and eliminates the need for overlap on some of those sessions.
“Having another gym at the high school is key. What this is going to do is all high school sports can stay at the high school, no busing or traveling. It really frees up a lot of space and time for everybody,” Maury said. “Definitely a lot of options for our kids.”
School officials said the project will be paid for with money from the school’s general fund and they’re hoping for a cost of around $1.5 million, “but it depends on bids.” The project is currently in the bidding process.
The school has had a few trees removed in an effort to start making room for the project. Maury said the school plans to have the stumps removed, have the utility lines marked, and complete some irrigation work this fall to get ready for construction, which is expected to start in the spring of 2019. Maury said the Viking Activity Center should be open in the fall of 2019.