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High school gym renovations underway

Classmates from 1979 gathered in Blue River Valley Jr./Sr. High School Shelton Gym last week to take a final picture with the Viking muralthat their class gifted to the school nearly four decades ago.Front row, from left, Scott Johnson, Dave Branham and Tracy Evans. Back row, from left, Kevin Bennett, Tony May, Carla Bryantand Cindy Spade.

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Now that students are out of class for the summer months, the folks at Blue River Valley schools have started doing some safety and maintenance work on the high school’s Shelton Gym.

“Our gym is one of the absolute finest gyms of any 1A-sized school in East-Central Indiana,” said BRV Superintendent Eric Creviston, “But it does have to be maintained and updated.”

Shelton Gym is BRV’s biggest venue. It is home to the boys and girls basketball and girls volleyball teams and large community events, like high school graduation.

Creviston said the corporation administration team wants to bring the gym into ADA compliance and also refinish the floor. 

Construction crews have a small window to get work done before the kids show back up in August.

“You need to do as much as you can at once, or you’ll have to take the gym off-line again next summer,” Creviston said.

While the handrails and gym floor are being upgraded, the public address system and speakers will also be replaced.

“We figured we should go ahead and paint the gym now as well,” Creviston said. “That ensures that the paint is done before we start on other things.”

It’s the painting project that has caused some Viking alums to take to social media and question the decision. Their big concern is the large Viking mural that the senior class of 1979 painted on the gym wall nearly 40 years ago. The mural has since been painted over. 

“We are going to paint the walls and it’s not feasible to paint around a large complex image and have it look right, so it will be painted over,” Creviston said.

Mooreland resident Terry Wallen took to Facebook after hearing the plans to paint over the Viking. 

“People are not happy about this,” Wallen said. “They are pretty upset and say that the painting can be painted around and saved.”

Creviston understands some of the pushback from the community.  

“Schools are associated with very real feelings and personal history; that’s how it is supposed to be. Your school should matter to you,” he said.

Tony May, who graduated Class of ‘79, chimed in and thanked the BRV administrators of years past for giving his class the opportunity to create that larger-than-life mural as a gift to the school.

“We have many wonderful memories at BRV and those will remain... We were fortunate the painting stayed up as long as it did,” May said. “Do I wish it could stay? Sure. But, times change and we must acknowledge that fact. Nothing stays the same forever.” 

Before the painting work began, BRV Jr./Sr. High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Steve Hoskins allowed a group of 1979 classmates to get some final pictures with their Viking. 

Creviston said the athletic department took a high-quality image of the Viking that will be placed, life-size, near the entrances to the gym.

There are also plans to honor the Mt. Summit Eagles and the Mooreland Bobcats, mascots of two of the schools that consolidated to create Blue River Valley schools.

“One of the longer-term parts of this project is to bring school records, championships and a more distinctive place of honor for our state-runner up team in the gym hallway, rather than having a mix of banners and signage in the gym itself,” Creviston said. “We feel that all athletic records and all championships and teams should be honored in the same space and with the same degree of respect, and we’ll need to grow that space, too, since we are a growing school.”

Creviston said the school board has spent the last three years addressing infrastructure and facility issues, while also making progress in the are of instruction and academics.

“You are never ‘done’ in these areas,” Creviston said. “You have to keep working to serve students better and provide the community with the best school you can for the 21st Century.”