Montour's renovated athletic center to reopen this weekend

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The revamped Montour Athletic Center is more than a gym and a pool.

It is a sports spot for competitions and classes, a concert venue, a fitness facility and a versatile, 1,800-seat arena.

Following a $15.5 million renovation, the athletic center is set to reopen this weekend on the high school campus on Clever Road in Robinson.

Grand opening activities are free and open to the public, starting with a 3 p.m. ribbon cutting Saturday.

Highlights include a game with members of the Pittsburgh Steelers basketball team at 8 p.m. Saturday and a student talent show at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The athletic center project, which began in December 2011, included major renovation of the swimming pool and the gymnasium, which now has 360-degree seating, a portable stage and professional sound, light and scoreboard systems.

New features in the center include an indoor track, modern fitness equipment, additional exercise and practice rooms, updated locker rooms, a concession stand, elevators, expanded wheelchair access and offices for coaches and game officials.

Wireless Internet, air conditioning, security cameras and energy-efficient automatic lighting were installed throughout the building.

Many of the facilities eventually will be open to the public, superintendent Donald Boyer said.

High school staff and students said the athletic center is top-notch and will enhance the district's health and physical education efforts.

"There's no high school that has anything like this, or even some small colleges," principal Todd Price said. "It shows we value physical well-being and health education."

Senior athlete Kevin Klemmer, 18, said the new facility will encourage healthy behaviors.

"Knowing we have a state-of-the-art facility on our campus, right next to our high school, will trigger the mindset of less physically active students to want to change their lifestyle," he said.

The new facility has spurred formation of a high school dance team for hip-hop, jazz and pom routines, said middle school assistant principal Candice Bostick, who has a background in dance.

"I've always had the thought, and when I saw the facility and the dance studio, it was a given," she said.

"This is a phenomenal way to showcase the talents of our students."

Digital information is at visitors' fingertips throughout the athletic center.

Touch screens display championship athletes, and a moving ticker shows professional sports scores.

Video screens demonstrate how to use exercise machines, and computers on some fitness equipment can track and store statistics and progress.

Huge LED boards in the gym broadcast animations, ads and game scores, and the scoreboards are tied into the locker-room clocks.

Five separate sound systems pipe into the gym, pool, cardio room, aerobics room and wrestling/cheerleading room.

The swimming pool locker rooms have automatic bathing suit dryers.

"We are trying to turn the whole district toward a focus on technology, so why not put it in the gym?" said Jason Burik, assistant to the superintendent.

So far the construction project has been under budget. The district has a 25-year, $17.89 million bond issue but as of April had spent $15.48 million.

Mr. Boyer said the athletic center will serve students, staff and residents.

"I think this will add a lot to the community," he said.

Grand opening activities this weekend are free, except there will be a charge for an outdoor barbecue from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and for a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The athletic center will be open from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday for basketball contests, a Zumba class and use of the indoor track, exercise equipment and a golf simulator.

In the natatorium, a varsity swim meet will be held at 4 p.m., and the pool will host an open swim from 6 to 7 p.m.

A student/faculty basketball game at 7 p.m. will be followed by a five-on-five game between members of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Montour High School boys' basketball team.

On Sunday, student musical performances will begin in the gymnasium at 2 p.m.



Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: First Published May 2, 2013 9:00 AM


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