Renovations planned in WHS gym, locker rooms

By Jonathan Delozier -

A shrinking number of students taking gym classes has Wellington educators looking for new ways to use locker room space.

MKC Architects of Mansfield was hired Feb. 20 to plan renovations to Wellington High School’s gymnasium, locker room, and mezzanine area that’s often used as a practice area for wrestling and baseball.

Costs for planning from MKC are not to exceed $5,000.

District treasurer Tina Gabler said lower turnout in gym classes is due to state standards allowing students to opt out as long as they are participating in sports.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, students are required to complete one-half unit, or 120 hours, of physical education classes during high school to graduate.

However, students may be exempted from that rule if they’ve been a member of a sports team for two full seasons or in an approved JROTC program for two years.

There is no timetable for construction at the high school to begin.

“The locker room is not being utilized properly,” Gabler said. “Both the boys’ and girls’ areas at the high school are huge areas that leave big footprints. Our gym class numbers are down and we don’t have the need right now for all these lockers. We’ve thought about reconfiguring them for the basketball and volleyball teams or even for a film room.”

“With the mezzanine, it’d be good for everyone if the mezzanine was set up in a way where the wrestlers can use it at the same time as the baseball and softball teams,” she said.

Athletic director John Bowman said roughly 75 WHS students take gym every year.

“When this school was built, the locker rooms were made to accommodate every student in the school, and that certainly isn’t what’s needed anymore,” he said. “Our hopes are to find a way to get maximum use out of the space and it would be great if teams can coexist in that (mezzanine) area.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier