New Palisade High School Auxiliary Gym - Written by Principal Dan Bollinger

Palisade Students

Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our Palisade High School maintenance staff, the main PHS gymnasium is in very good condition. In partnership with District 51, we have refurbished the floor, put in handrails on the bleachers for the safety of our guests, repaired the mechanical systems  numerous times, and replaced the scoreboards that were no longer operational. This has all been done without asking the public for money. Our staff takes exceptional care of our gym, sweeping the floor multiple times a day and ensuring the proper footwear is worn to protect our floor. I can safely say that we have been very good stewards of what we have.

Palisade Basketball

However, Palisade High School’s main gym was built in 1992, when the student body totaled around 600. At that time, the need for an auxiliary gym was still apparent, and construction on a second gym began. Without funds to finish the building to scale, the project resulted in a usable space measuring 48 feet wide by 53 feet long.   The regulation size of a basketball court is 84 feet by 50 feet.  The regulation size of a volleyball court is 30 feet by 60 feet.  By rule a court has to have a minimum of 3ft of space after the end line to the wall.  Save for table tennis, that space is, of course, far too small for any sport to play or practice there.  As good stewards of our resources, the space was converted into what is now a well-used weight room. Even still, some of the 75 students in our first hour weights class must train outside because there is not enough room.

Today, the student population at PHS is more than 1000, and an auxiliary gym remains a pressing need. Without enough space for our athletes to practice or play at the same time, it forces our students to practice and play at hours of the day that ultimately do them harm. It pains me that some of our athletes leave their homes at 4:45 in the morning so they can make it to a 5:30am practice. And, if they have a game that day, those same athletes do not get home until 7:00 or 8:00pm at night, at which point they begin their homework and studies. These kids are incredibly dedicated to improving themselves, but this is not a military school and this type of schedule hurts their education and their future. For these reasons and more, a PHS auxiliary gym in is listed on the bond. Please, take some time and read the dozens of reasons why we need this additional gym space, in addition to the other repairs our school desperately needs

Palisade Cheer
  • Winter and bad weather force PE classes into one gym.  A single gym creates a challenge for teachers to organize 90 kids into productive, safe activities that meet state standards.
  • Student safety is compromised with a large number of students in one area during winter and inclement weather.
  • Freshman Basketball teams must practice at 5:30 am in the morning and then attend school, making for approximately a 10 ½ hour day not including travel to and from school and homework when they get home.  Many of our students live outside of the city of Palisade, and some come from the Redlands.  We field many complaints each year as their child is leaving home at 4:45 in the morning to get to basketball practice.  These early morning are not a good situation for kids.

  • Varsity/JV teams practice until 9:00 p.m. because 6 teams are using one gym. Some students are unable to go home in between school (living Outside of the city of Palisade) and practice which makes for a 13 ½ hour day for them.  Again, the length of days is not acceptable for our kid's education.

  • When there are freshman games, wrestling matches, etc. in the gym, our other teams are asked to find alternate locations to practice.  Many times they travel to Bookcliff Middle School or Colorado Mesa University just to find an available place to practice.  The rec gym in Palisade is often booked with city activities on the days that we need to use it.

  • Only having one gym forces us to start our games at 3:00 pm for basketball which displaces our PE classes during that time and our students are being denied their educational opportunities in that area.

  • Our gym floor was just renovated at the cost of approximately $35,000.  The gym is so overused that it must be refinished twice a year.  Having an auxiliary gym will relieve the overuse of this facility.

  • Having a second gym would allow opportunities for outside entities to use our facilities.

    •   ie.. Clubs, AAU, 4H, GSA, BSA, Community organizations.  This would improve community relationships and help enhance our feeder programs.
  • Allow for opportunities to host more tournaments and increase the number of teams we can allow into existing tournaments.  For example, we host a freshman volleyball tournament and have to restrict the number of teams because of our current facility.  Having an auxiliary gym would allow more teams and increase revenue into the athletic program.

  • If it is built correctly, it could also improve our locker rooms which are inadequate to handle our student body currently.  During basketball games, I have to funnel through one door of the home team, visiting team, and officials.  At the same time, I have wrestlers using the same locker room that my basketball teams are using for team talks.  

  • If built correctly, the auxiliary gym could add needed storage space, coach’s offices, classrooms, and a separate changing room for officials to use with a shower.

  • Needed extra space for in-house reunifications in the cases where parents have to check out students, and local schools that may use PHS for an evacuation/reunification site.

  • Potential community shelter for local emergencies.

  • Could double as a community gym similar to the BAC attached to Bookcliff Middle.

  • An auxiliary gym would provide the room for a daily adaptive P.E. Class.

  • The cheer team has to practice in the foyer of the school because there is no gym space available.  Students often walk on our mats or through the team doing practice.  This is a safety issue and makes the team feel like they are not as important as other athletic programs because they are forced to practice in the hallway.

  • Our winter guard flag team would also benefit by giving them a place to practice as well.  Currently, they practice at Tope Elementary as they don’t have space at PHS.

  • Many times I have scheduling conflicts with multiple groups wanting to use the same space, and this would allow more use by our existing groups.

  • With no second gym, P. E. classes have class in the wrestling practice room and have caused accidental damage to our mats.  These mats are very expensive and cannot be rolled up every day after practice, and P.E. have to use this space in the winter.

  • Having an auxiliary gym allows for more flexible game times. This allows for the school to have a chance at getting quality game officials for those games. Making arrival times for game officials more feasible rather than a 3:00 pm start time is very important. It is tough for some officials to make a 3:00 pm start time because officiating is their second job and getting off work at that time can be difficult. 

  • The auxiliary gym could play as host for game official training opportunities to help serve CHSAA certified officials. Development programs to provide teams with well-trained game officials is an ongoing process, and the auxiliary gym could allow game official associations to use the gym for training purposes without it conflicting with the basketball and volleyball schedules. 

  • We could host some freshmen “mixer” type activities, or have a couple of lunch socials to build connections with some of our lost students. 

  • Alternative rehearsal space during the Musical when the stage is not available for orchestra.