80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesCelebration Marks Renovations at CAHS Gym

Celebration Marks Renovations at CAHS Gym

Sept. 7, 2007 — Polished floors, new bleachers and full-on air conditioning greeted parents, teachers and students Friday, as the community turned out to celebrate the near completion of renovations to the Charlotte Amalie High School gymnasium.
The repairs — which Department of Education officials say cost near $1 million — have gone through a lengthy financing and construction process. That process began around December 2006, after coaches’ strikes initiated by former CAHS athletic director Arthur Solomon threatened the territory's basketball and volleyball seasons.
Solomon, along with others, was honored Friday for helping to make the refurbishing of the gym a reality. Towering above the other speakers in his trademark polo shirt and sports pants, Solomon recounted tales of past experiences in the gym, when players and teams had to deal with high heat, flooded floors and creaky bleachers.
"It took us 31 years to get some air conditioning in here," he joked before a packed crowd of CAHS supporters.
Speaking later in the ceremony, CAHS' new athletic director, Myron Corbett, also reminisced about games where players got injured in the gym.
"I remember when a team from Connecticut came down and couldn't play because the game was rained out — in the gym," he said. "We've definitely come a long way from those times. So we're here and proud that we have made some changes to the facility."
Funds to cover the cost of the project came from a $12 million bond issue previously authorized by the Legislature, shepherded through by Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe and former Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole.
"Back then, players would labor in this gym, playing in an atmosphere of heat and dust," Cole said during Friday’s event. "We realized that something had to be done, so we earmarked some funds, and the previous administration got the ball rolling on the repairs after coach Solomon refused to conduct his classes until the improvements got started."
Now, after approximately eight months of hard work, the gym is nearly complete, and will serve as a jumping-off point for future school-improvement projects, CAHS Principal Jeanette Smith-Barry said. Administrators, she explained, still haven’t given up on the hope of a brand-new gymnasium — a state-of-the-art facility accompanied by a well-maintained track and field.
In the meantime, Smith-Barry urged parents and students on Friday to "take care" of the newly renovated gym.
"What's the first rule?" she asked students. "Wear sneakers only when coming into this beautiful facility."
Speaking to the government officials in the audience, Smith-Barry outlined some future projects on CAHS' wish list, including a new library and more spacious cafeteria.
After the speeches came performances by CAHS' renowned marching band, including an exclusive musical set by the team's drum line. Standing in two rows, the drummers laid out an impressive routine filled with hip-hop dances and stylish drumstick wielding.
Adding to the upbeat atmosphere, the school's cheerleaders — accompanied by the entire Chickenhawks football team — spread some spirit by leading the audience in a number of cheers.
"This whole thing is amazing," said student-body representative Michael Hilaire after the performances were complete. "Now we can all come in here, practice, feel good about ourselves and take our teams to a higher level."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.