A place to call home – Clear Creek School welcomes addition of new gymnasium | TheUnion.com

A place to call home – Clear Creek School welcomes addition of new gymnasium

For years, the concept of a home-court advantage meant little to the players on the Clear Creek School basketball team.

That’s because, until late last month, they’d never had one.

Ditto for the volleyball team, which practiced outside in the elements for years, their school lacking the space to allow athletes the thrill of victory under their own roof.

Wednesday, members of the volleyball team squeaked across a new gym floor, bounced balls up to the glistening rafters and laughed, their echoes ricocheting off freshly painted walls.

The building’s smell was reminiscent of a new car.

To say that the gymnasium at the 105-student, K-8 school was a long time in coming would be an understatement, said Scott Lay, the school’s principal.

He’s been waiting for one since he arrived at the school 14 years ago.

“It’s a source of pride for the kids,” Lay said. “But I guess when you don’t have a place like this, you don’t notice it as much.”

The gym was first proposed more than ten years ago, when Clear Creek had more than 120 students. Declining enrollment and a dearth of money from the state led to a series of postponements for the construction of the 2,600-square-foot gym, which has been attached to the existing 2,600-square-foot multipurpose room.

The school district stashed hundreds of thousands of dollars in money paid to the school by residential builders to help pay for the $950,000 gym over the years. The state kicked in the remaining money from construction funds.

When it rains now, every student can eat in the gym instead of in teacher’s classrooms. On March 22, the student production of “Annie” will be staged in the gym, not 10 miles away at Ready Springs School. Eighth-graders will be able to graduate in familiar surroundings. And the Clear Creek Cougars can finally play to home crowds.

Nicole Nicolai, 12, calls the gym awesome. “Now we actually have room to play,” the seventh-grade volleyball player said.

Seventh-grader Katie Bielen said she’s glad she’ll stay dry during winter conditioning.

“It was kind of hard to practice in the rain,” she said.

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