Villa Angela-St. Josephs gymnasium will have a vastly different look to it when school starts in August.
The school announced April 7 a massive renovation project to the venue affectionately known as Viking Village.
First-year athletic director Nate Zavorek said the renovation project will include new bleachers, banners, restroom facilities and basketball hoops. About the only thing not being altered is the tile floor, one of the only ones found in Ohio.
Zavorek said the project will begin when he arrives at school April 8 and takes the first bolt out of the old bleachers.
Its a long overdue upgrade to the 64-year old gymnasium, Zavorek said.
I used the analogy at our fundraiser on Saturday that (Viking Village) is a 64-year-old woman that has seen us through the good times, has seen us through the bad times and seen so many people graduate, Zavorek said, and we havent taken care of her.
The former bleachers will be replaced with molded plastic seats from Hussey Seating Company, pushing capacity to 1,250. The bleachers will also have railway aisles. Zavorek hopes creates a better atmosphere while also increasing safety over the old bleachers.
The stage will also have platform risers in the front after the renovation, creating VIP seating with cushioned folding chairs.
The baskets in the gymnasium will now descend from the ceiling, rather than be stemmed from on-floor basket supports.
The banners in the gymnasium will have a new look as well.
Zavorek said the intent isnt to take away from the history of Viking Village, rather to accentuate it with updates.
Thats the trick right now, to not take away from the integrity of what is there, Zavorek said. Were not taking away any tradition. Were just enhancing it.
Zavorek said there are no changes with the floor.
Were just giving her a nice facelift and paint job, he said of the venue, and showing her we appreciate all shes done for us.
Another major part of the project is enlarged and updated restrooms to accommodate large crowds, becoming compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project will begin with Zavorek and others disassembling the bleachers on April 8. The plan, he said, is to have the new bleachers intact by Aug. 1, and the restroom facilities on or around that date.
Its unbelievably exciting, Zavorek said of the project. It comes on top of everything else that is going on so well at our school.
Funding for the renovation comes from a private source in the form of a loan made possible by a St. Joseph alum.
We got a loan from one of our generous alums, Zavorek said, almost interest-free. He wants this to spur more renovations. Hes not asking for an immediate payback, but to use the money we are raising for other fundraisers as well.
Zavorek said he hopes alumni of VASJ and St. Joseph rally around the project as well as others in the future.
Everybody found out about this on Saturday night, that this is going to happen, he said. We had a big round of applause when we announced it.
Zavorek acknowledged the rumors a few years back VASJ was on its last leg and was on the verge of closing. He said the enrollment two years ago was 240 students grades 9-through-12, a number that will balloon to 420 students next school year.
In a three-year period of time, weve gone through a renaissance, Zavorek said. Were making it known we are a viable place for people to go to school and proving we are here to stay.