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Marquette Senior High School gym construction on schedule

Workout equipment has been moved into its own room instead of taking a spot behind the upper deck of the gym’s bleachers with the addition of an auxiliary gym at Marquette Senior High School now under construction. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

MARQUETTE — If you’ve driven, walked or biked past the Marquette Senior High School entrance along Lincoln Avenue this summer, you may have noticed construction on the new auxiliary gym on the south side of the school is progressing.

The $3.2 million dollar project that began construction in April is on schedule for its January completion, according to MSHS Athletic Director Alex Tiseo.

Tiseo, who wasn’t hired until a month after the construction began, believes the new gym will enhance the student experience at MSHS.

“An overarching goal for the year is going to be to utilize these new facilities to better meet the needs of our students through their experience,” Tiseo said.

The additional gym will help accommodate teams to better schedule for both practices and games.

“When we get into scheduling, the fact that we can have a freshman and junior varsity basketball or volleyball contest taking place simultaneously with a varsity contest to follow makes scheduling a lot easier,” Tiseo said. “That way we don’t have a freshman team coming in for a 4 o’clock start and missing a ton of class.”

While Tiseo wasn’t part of the process in deciding on the auxiliary gym as well as the new football turf that was installed last year, he’s glad they’ve been undertaken to improve the school and community experience.

“When it’s going to add to our student experience, I support these projects whole-heartedly,” Tiseo said. “These are facilities that are going to be available to the community. There will be, for example, hours where we want to see community members coming out and utilizing the track; at the same time we want to protect the overall longevity of the field and track and make that last as long as we can.”

Tiseo not only supports the projects, but said they’re needed as well.

“Just to double our gym space, it’s definitely needed,” Tiseo said. “With the boys and girls basketball season taking place at the same time we have six teams that need to practice every day. In the past we’ve had teams practicing until 9 o’clock at night and that’s tough.

“We want to maximize time at home, too, so the athletes can spend that with their families and this new gym space will allow us to get those teams through and practicing as efficient as possible.”

Tiseo said the school is already seeing the dividends of the new facilities, noting that MSHS will be hosting the Upper Peninsula All-Star basketball games again next year.

“It’s events like that where having these first-class facilities in place are what allows us to continue to host these events,” Tiseo said. “These events also bring in large groups of people to the community, so you’re seeing hotel traffic and restaurant traffic and things like that making it much better for the community as a whole.”

Aside from athletics, the added gym space will allow for more physical education classes as well as intramural sports.

“We ideally want to keep our high school students here at the high school rather than digging into gym time at Bothwell (Middle School) and Graveraet (Elementary School),” Tiseo said. “This allows us to better that experience for our high school students by keeping them in-house here.”

Tiseo also commented on the new artificial turf.

“It’s a great surface because it’s consistent,” Tiseo said. “You know your footing is going to be consistent, it doesn’t really change a lot when it’s rain versus dry. So to have that turf available there for them to practice on, that’s something that was previously a little bit tough.

“It was tough when you could only have your varsity football team practicing on their game field on a Thursday and then their pregame warm-up; the fact they can practice on their game field every day now really helps us as a program.”

Other projects on Tiseo’s agenda are new logos for the school’s athletic teams and a potential long-term goal to replace the press boxes at the football, soccer and track’s William R. Hart Stadium.

For now, Tiseo is happy with the direction MSHS is going on the new facilities.

“We’re excited to have our teams competing in there,” Tiseo said. “Between the new auxiliary gym and the updates we’ve done in the main gym, we’re on track to have a really great basketball and volleyball venue.”

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal. net.

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