Mattoon High School main gym renovations proceeding as scheduled (2024)

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  • Rob Stroud

MATTOON — The class of 2024 is set to graduate Saturday evening during an outdoor ceremony at Gaines Field,a once common but now rare occurrenceatMattoon High School.

The outdoor event was announced last fall to prepare for renovations that started in March in the ceremony's usual venue, the main gym. This work is setto be completed in September so that the gym will be ready for use during most of the new school year, including ultimately the 2025 graduation.

School district Building & Grounds Manager Dustin Stoltzfus said the impetus for the renovations was the need to replace the main gym's floor that dates back to the 1970s. Hesaid gym floors need to be sanded down every eight to 10 years.

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"You only have so many (cycles of) eight to 10 years to do that. That's where we wereat. It was time to replace the floor,"Stoltzfus said. He also noted that, "Weare going to rip out the old floor starting Monday."

Knowing that the main gym would have to be shut down for the installation of a new floor, the district also opted to make other improvements to this space as part of the project. Those upgrades will include new bleachers on the floorand on the two balconies.

MHS Athletic Director Trent Duckett said four rows of bleachers for the Team Massive school spirit student group will beadded in front of the west wall. In addition, he said three rows of bucket seats for season ticket holders will be added to the bleachers on the north side of the floor.

Mattoon High School main gym renovations proceeding as scheduled (1)

On the south side of the floor,Stoltzfus said, an aisle will be created behind the bleachers so that spectators can walk back and forth without needing to pass in front of players on the benches.

Stoltzfus said the view from the balcony bleachers will be enhanced by replacing the steel railing in front of them with 42-inch-tall, specialized glass barriers.

"You won't have anything obstructing your view. It's going to be a nice clean look,"Stoltzfus said. Also, the balcony view will no longer be obscured by the main gym's four side basketball hoops, which will now retract into the ceiling area.

Duckett said two main basketball hoops will be able to extend down to accommodate children's activities at halftime during Green Wave games and games for the new youth basketball programs at Riddle and Williams elementary schools.

"They will get the opportunity to play on the new floor in the newly renovated gym," Duckett said of the elementary teams, adding that this will help build interest in basketball among young students.

Stoltzfus said access to the balconies will be enhanced by the installation of an electric lift for wheelchairs, plus vinyl traction treads for the four staircases.

Duckett said the renovations also will encompass quieter air handling units, plus new light and sound systems. He said small media booths will be added to the west end of each balcony, adding that MHS communications students may eventually be able to do live video broadcasts from there.

The new Nevco scoreboard for the gym has been funded with the help of $60,000 from the Mattoon Booster Club and $30,000 from the K.C. Summers dealership, Duckett said. This is the same type of scoreboard used at Gaines Field, which was renovated in 2022, and that the soccer field will also get.

"We have been able to work here with what we have," Duckett said. "The teachers and coaches have worked really well with it," noting that the smaller, north gym has been available for indoor PE classes and other indoor activities this spring.

Duckett said the high school has been fortunate to have Gaines Field available for the graduation ceremony, set for 7 p.m. Saturday. A rain date has been set for 2 p.m. Sunday.

Photos: Mattoon High School spring 2024 signing day

Seven Mattoon High School athletes signed with college sports teams during the spring 2024 signing day event on Wednesday.

Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861.


  • K-12-education
  • High School
  • Mattoon
  • Gyms
  • Education
  • Physical Fitness
  • Physical Education
  • Ceremonies
  • Nonbuilding Structures
  • Seating
  • Bleacher
  • Construction
  • Architecture
  • Floor

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Mattoon High School main gym renovations proceeding as scheduled (2024)


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