$4 million renovation nears awaited unveiling

  • The ConVal cougar logo is the centerpiece of high school’s new basketball court, seen here through one of the windows in the hallway on the second floor of the renovated gymnasium wing.<br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • The ConVal cougar logo is the centerpiece of high school’s new basketball court, seen here through one of the windows in the hallway on the second floor of the renovated gymnasium wing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • A new ramp leads from the link with the main high school building up to the second floor of the gym wing. Students with disabilities will then be able use an elevator to get down to the gymnasium level<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • ConVal gym<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • ConVal gym<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • ConVal gym<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Facilities Director Tim Grossi raises the gate at the new concession stand.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — The Cougar snarls from center court of the gleaming new basketball floor at ConVal High School’s renovated gym. New glass backboards aren’t installed yet, but they should be going up this week. Fresh paint is being applied to the walls of the boys and girls locker rooms and electricians, welders and carpenters are busy putting the final touches on the gym’s new lobby, which will feature wraparound trophy cabinets to showcase memorabilia from 40 years of C0nVal athletics.

And by next week, ConVal students should finally get a chance to use the new gym, after spending most of the year changing clothes in temporary locker rooms set up in trailers and taking gym classes in a warehouse on the other side of Route 202 .

“People who see it say this has the look of a college facility,” said ConVal Facilities Director Tim Grossi on Friday, as he gave a tour of the building. “It’s bright, wide-open, all new. This is really the flagship of our district. All the community can be proud of it.”

Grossi said a second coat of varnish had just been applied to the gym floor, which features the school’s original Cougar logo from 1970.

“Tod Silegy provided the graphic,” Grossi said. “He was the first varsity player to score in this gym, back in 1970.”

The floor that Silegy, who now teaches physical education at South Meadow School, played on had developed numerous dead spots over the years, Grossi said. It has now been replaced with a state-of-the-art floating floor, which uses rubber pads between the concrete subfloor and the layers of plywood and hardwood that form the court surface.

Four new glass backboards have been ordered. Two of them will replace the older glass backboards at either end of the basketball court. The older backboards and the other two new ones will replace the older solid backboards on the sides of the gym. A new divider to create smaller spaces for gym classes will be installed this week.

The $4 million project, which was approved by ConVal district voters last year, will bring the gymnasium wing into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act and Title IX requirements. The new entry, at the north end of the building, leads directly from the parking lot into a large open area that will be lined with trophy cases. Handicapped access is also available from the end of the link between the school itself and the gymnasium wing, students who can’t take stairs down to the gym level will use a new ramp that leads up to the new second floor space, where an elevator provides access to the first floor.

Directly opposite the entrance to the gym itself is a new concession stand, with plenty of space to store drinks and refreshments. Grossi said boosters will be able to use warming trays to offer pizza and hot dogs and will be able to stock T-shirts, sweatshirts and other ConVal merchandise for sale during games.

“It’s quite a difference, compared to setting up a table in the hallway,” Grossi said.

The first floor has boys and girls locker rooms, with a trainer’s room between them. Both locker rooms have doors leading directly outside, so athletes won’t need to track mud through the entryway. Everything is brightly painted in ConVal’s blue and gold colors.

The second floor has two team rooms, two health classrooms, a health lab, and athletic department offices. A brightly lit hallway featuring solar tube lighting has a row of wide windows overlooking the gym itself.

The unisex team rooms on the second floor are for home and visiting teams to use before, during and after games. Like the locker rooms, they have ADA compliant shower stalls and water saving toilets and showers. There’s also an officials’ room where referees and umpires can change clothes and shower after games.

Grossi said the building has completely remodeled heating and air conditioning systems, run from a control room designed by Keith Lee, a member of the ConVal facilities staff.

“We have sensors throughout the building,” he said. “Controllers will analyze the data and we can control heating, air quality, whether to open or close for ventilation.”

Grossi said a grand opening will be held in mid April, but students will start using the space next week, as soon as the varnish and paint are dry.

“We should get our certificate of occupancy next week,” he said on Friday. “By the first full week of April, the gym will be open and we’ll be ready to go.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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