If you plan on visiting Independence’s Middle School gymnasium soon to cheer on your Blue Devil’s, you may notice a difference… brand new bleachers. The middle school decided it was time for an update from the wooden bleachers that had been in the gym since the school opened about 50 years ago and was home to the Blue Devil’s high school teams. Francine Kane, Service Manager for Independence Local Schools, has been working hard since this past summer to request a government grant to supply the bleachers. After health inspections, an application process, and other steps to ensure the grant, the middle school was accepted as the last gymnasium to receive a grant for new bleachers from the Ohio Bureau’s Worker’s Compensation. This grant covered more than 55% of the total cost of the project. There are a number of reasons why these new bleachers are an exciting edition to the middle school’s gymnasium. They will be easier for the custodian staff to handle when pulling out before a sporting event, and then putting them back in after the event is over. The bleachers also have wider walkways, and also allows for an area where wheelchairs can be parked. They also offer a more modern look to the gym, and are royal blue, to show Blue Devil pride. Principal Kevin Jakub and Francine Kane stated that along with the bleachers, they would like the gym to be touched up with new paint, and the addition of some Championship banners. When asked how the students feel about the new bleachers, Principal Jakub smiled, “They are very curious. The gym doors have been shut for two weeks, so they are anxiously awaiting seeing them.” They asked “Will we all be able to still fit?” Jakub replied, “Yes, we will be able to fit more than 1,000 spectators!”
Perhaps a few people might have a sentimental feeling towards the gymnasium being remodeled differently from its earlier days. But Principal Jakub was excited to say that they will be buying a wood iron, with either a Blue Devil, or “IPride,” that the lumber from the old bleachers will be branded with. So if you are interested in buying a piece of the wood, whether you are an Independence alumni that had many sports-related memories from that gym, or you are a parent of an Independence athlete that you’ve enjoyed watching from those bleachers over the years, you will be able to keep a piece of it forever!
Article written by Alexa Narduzzi, Independence High School Class of 2013