High School Sports

Atwater and Merced High ready to show off new gyms, host first games.

The new gymnasiums at Atwater and Merced High are ready to be unveiled to the public.

Atwater is hosting the grand opening to the gym on Friday at 11:36 a.m. The Atwater band and cheerleaders will be performing and the Falcons entire student body will get to see the new gym.

Merced is hosting its grand opening on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The gym will be open to the public from 6-7:30 p.m. The school is holding a student rally earlier in the day to showcase the new facility.

Both schools were long overdue for a new gym. The old gyms struggled to squeeze in 600 people for basketball games.

Atwater’s new gym will seat 1,650 people for basketball games and can hold 2,300 for school rallies. For the first time since 1970 the entire school can be seated for a rally. Merced’s gym seats 1,800 for games.

The 26,000 square-foot gyms are equipped with two locker rooms, a coaches office, training room, and an exercise room that will house weight-lifting equipment according to Merced Union High School District’s Ted Walstrom who is in charge of facilities.

The cost of the building was $9.8 million for Atwater’s gym and $10.3 million for Merced. There was also two new tennis courts installed at Merced High. The funds for the project became available through a bond-refinancing deal and passage of the Measure M school facilities legislation in 2008.

The main courts in each gym can be a championship court or two full-size courts with the bleachers folded. Upstairs courts are a full size volleyball court or two basketball half courts.

Atwater’s first game in the new gym will be a volleyball match against El Capitan on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.

Merced’s first game in its new gym will be a volleyball match against Buhach Colony will also be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.