50-year-old bleachers being replaced at North Rowan High

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Sarah Nagem
Salisbury Post
When North Rowan High School students return from summer break in August, they will be greeted with a new set of gymnasium bleachers.
And it’s about time, said Kelly Everhart, the boys’ basketball coach at the school.
The old wooden bleachers were installed when the school opened about 50 years ago, Everhart said. They were starting to show their age.
“About every other time we would use them, we would have to call maintenance to repair them to get them pushed back,” Everhart said.
The bleachers’ bolts and moving parts began to wear, and staff often had trouble pushing them back against the wall to expose more of the gym floor, he said.
About 10 years ago, other high schools in the county got motors installed in their bleachers, Everhart said. The motors make it easier to pull out the bleachers for seating and retract them when needed.
But the bleachers at North Rowan High were too old to be motorized, Everhart said.
Since then, students have just had to deal with less-than-ideal seating. But the new bleachers, which are set to be installed after school lets out in June, will likely be made of a natural-colored molded plastic, Everhart said.
It might have been nice for the bleachers to be green, which is the school color, Everhart said. But that likely would have made for a heftier bill, and it might not have brightened up the gym enough.
“We were a little bit afraid that it would make the gym too dark,” he said.
The school will have to sacrifice some seating space for the new bleachers. The old set could handle almost 1,350 people, Everhart said. The new motorized bleachers will seat about 200 fewer, he said.
The upgrade will likely create a better environment for athletics at the school, Everhart said.
“Any time that things look good, the kids and the fans and everybody feel a sense of pride about it,” he said.
The gym’s facelift comes on the heels of other athletic upgrades at North Rowan. Last fall, the school got new tennis courts, and a new track was installed about a year ago.
But some problems with the new track have meant students haven’t been able to use it as much as they’d like, Everhart said. The rubber is not adhering to the asphalt like it should, so it needs some work, he said.
As for the bleachers, the old wooden set won’t go to waste. The school cabinet-making class will use the wood for projects, Everhart said.