“Outdated Gymnasiums Can Easily Get A New Lease On Life”


A large number of school buildings were built in the fifties and sixties and will require immediate attention very soon. One third of urban schools are more than fifty years old.


The gymnasium is the place where the school really shows its age. With mandatory physical education classes comes more wear and tear, while it still remains the gathering center for assemblies, dances, and of course, hosting the community games; it is getting more difficult to hide the outdated fixtures and the “tired feel” these gyms exhibit.


Parents and grandparents nostalgically go back to the day when they were center stage as the crowd cheered, and because of this connection between the community and gymnasium, it is hard to agree on a renovation strategy. What appears to be dilapidated to some is a piece of history that by know means- is justified for the wrecking ball.


“There are a lot of affordable ways to breathe new life into an old gym.”


At this time, teachers across the nation are being laid off, programs are cut to avoid projected deficits. Even the schools that agree upon a new construction plan to their gymnasium know that now is not the time to make such a move.


Research and Developer for SportsGraphics, Tom Conlon, encourages these schools, “There are a lot of affordable ways to breathe new life into an old gym. We take a lot of time with each school to understand where they are at right now, and where they want to be. It is exciting to see how creative schools across the nation are; One school district got their students together and made a fun “Painting the Gym Day.”


These are a few inexpensive tips that any school can do to breathe new life into their gym:

  1. Painting the gym will make the lighting look more modern and will be the perfect backdrop for the other suggestions. Wall murals are customary in gymnasiums.
  2. Every gym needs to have a huge mural of their mascot with the name of the school written across the walls. Muralists are very expensive. You pay for the design and you pay by the hour, and there is always the mess and the time involved. 3M has come out with a digital film graphic that allows you to see the image before the image is applied to the wall. It is also a fraction of the cost for a painter, yet it looks just like a painting. Now that you have your color on the walls it is time to decorate.
  3. Bleacher Curtains also known as “Bleacher Enclosures” can do wonders for the look of old bleachers in an old gym. These are very affordable for the actual impact of color and style it will have on your space. They are put on the sides of the open ends of the bleachers and are used to keep children from playing underneath the seats. Make sure when you are dealing with a company that you ask if they do their own in-house printing. This will save you money and time. The larger companies have flat- bed printers in their facility which will allow the entire enclosure to be printed instead of a small square in the middle of a plain end closure.
  4. Gymnasiums are being used so much more these days; from kickball to physical fitness classes. Padding more than just the area underneath their basketball hoops has become standard safety practice. Since it’s a liability issue anyway, have your pads “wow” your audience. New technology in printing allows some manufacturers of wall pads to print scenic vistas or mascots that come to life. This will no doubt be what your students and visitors notice when they walk into your gym.


Some high schools are trying to invest in the scorers table with the led screens and advertisement feeds. Of course those are state of the art, as well as the price tag. There are companies out there that still make scoring tables that are completely padded and will coordinate with the other products I’ve mentioned. These padded score tables are an affordable alternative. Remember the coordinated color scheme, mascot, and lettering is what makes the difference between mismatched items, or a real defined, designer look. It is best to work with one manufacturer that will design all of these items for you. You would be surprised how many different shades of red there are. By working with one company you eliminate trying to match previously purchased products.


If you are dealing direct with a manufacturer, (and I suggest you do for better discounts) tell them your overall goal and they can give you the graphic designs for all of your products with a package price. Work with the company to pay per item, yet under the discounted package pricing.


Most manufacturing plants can offer pre-pay discounts. Although some schools policies won’t allow for pre- purchasing items, don’t hesitate to work out the same discount if you were to pay within five days of receiving shipment.


Give your students the gym that they will be proud of now. These furnishings a long with a fresh coat of paint will minimize the facilities shortcomings. Conveniently, they can all be put back into the gym once your have your new, well deserved, state of the art gymnasium.