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North Oldham gym opens at last

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By John Foster

 No more practices until 10:30 p.m. No more playing neutral site games against in-county rivals. No more middle school gym. And, finally, no more waiting.

The new gym at North Oldham High School is complete. North Oldham athletes and coaches christened it Friday with cheers and speeches. They recognized the senior athletes who didn’t have a chance to play in the glistening new facility. Former NOHS and current Bellarmine University player Kevin Allen sank a ceremonial first basket.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Athletic Director Tom Clemons said.

The 1,900-capacity gym was originally scheduled for completion by Dec. 1, 2008, but bad weather and unforeseen problems with state building codes pushed it back, Oldham County Schools architect Aric Andrew previously reported to the Oldham County Board of Education.

The old gym — built when the building housed North Oldham Middle School — houses only 750 spectators. That makes it too small for basketball games against South Oldham or Oldham County, forcing the teams to sometimes play at a neutral site.

Clemons said scheduling during the winter was quite a task as boys and girls basketball teams — consisting of freshmen, junior varsity and varsity squads — competed with the wrestling team for practice and competition time in one small gym.

Despite the hassles of playing in a middle-school caliber gym, it hasn’t hampered the success of his school’s teams, Clemons said.

“When the ball gets tossed up, it doesn’t matter what gym you’re playing in,” he said.

A new, big gym may affect the other team’s psyché, though, establishing more credibility for North Oldham teams, he said.

Girls’ basketball coach Nancy Martin said the new gym brings a measure of pride with it.

“I think it brings a new attitude to all our sports,” she said.

WLKY sportscaster Fred Cowgill participated in the ceremony. He remarked on the uniqueness of the occasion.

“Years from now these walls will be covered in banners,” he said. “You get to see them blank.”

E-mail us about this story at:  jfoster@oldhamera.com