PE classes, volleyball teams displaced
The Nelson H. Kobren Memorial Gymnasium will be unavailable for use until September 9, which has caused problems for the girls' volleyball teams and physical education classes. The gym had been originally scheduled to open before the school year began.
During an indoor softball practice last year, a ball hit a sprinkler resulting in flooding throughout the gym. Weyer's Floors Service Inc., an athletic floor specialist, was hired to repair the floor.
The first delay to the gym repair was due to insurance issues. The next problem was a lack of artists qualified to paint the design on the gym floor.
According to Blair athletic director Dale Miller, the artist was "taken off the job to start at the [University of Maryland's] Comcast Center." The artist then went on vacation, delaying the job further. Artwork for the gym was not completed until earlier this week, and then time had to be allowed for coating and drying.
The delays have caused numerous difficulties for physical education classes and the volleyball teams. Classes have been forced to stay out of the gym for an extended period of time, and the volleyball teams have had to practice and play games away from Blair.
Physical education teacher Cynthia Changuris said the unavailability of the gym has "impacted on classes not having a room to meet in to take care of organization." Physical education classes typically meet in the gym during class to take care of attendance and other issues, but have instead been meeting in team rooms and locker rooms.
Mark Acton, Blair's junior varsity volleyball coach, said that the delays of the gym's opening have caused "a lot of inconvenience." Volleyball tryouts began August 15, and had to be conducted at Silver Spring International Middle School.
Volleyball practices have also been held at Silver Spring International, and as a result of transportation and lease issues, the Blair teams have only been able to conduct practices ranging from about an hour to an hour and a half each time. "Other schools get two and a half hours, so we basically get half as much time," said Acton.
The courts at Silver Spring International are also inadequate, according to varsity volleyball coach Anne Garrison. "The court perspective is lacking," she said, due to of poorly positioned boundaries and poles.
Home volleyball games scheduled for Blair also had to be shifted. The first home game was moved to Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School, stripping Blair's teams of their home advantage, which according to Acton, is very important because it allows fans and parents to encourage the team more conveniently.
As the repairs draw to a close, there are optimistic thoughts on the project. Miller believes that despite the delays, the floor company is "doing a good job, so we'll be happy when they finish."
The volleyball teams are also looking forward to putting the experience behind them. "I hope it's worth it," said Acton.
Branden Buehler. Branden Buehler is a senior in the magnet program. When he is not doing schoolwork, work for Silver Chips Online, or swimming for the Blair swim team, he could possibly be found playing foosball or playing his guitar and recording songs in a futile attempt … More »