Five years ago, the Portville Central School athletic center looked nothing like it does today. With locker rooms from the original building and a weight room from the 1990s, the facility needed major renovations.
That’s where design firm Clark Patterson Lee stepped in to help as part of the district’s capital project to make its fitness area safe, up to code, and inviting to students.
“When we toured the old facility, it was a daunting scene,” said Clark Patterson Lee Project Manager Ryne Wight. “Rusted lockers barely holding on, vandalized walls and benches, and dungeon-like shower facilities — it was hard to picture the final layout at that point.”
The new athletic center space includes a newly constructed girls’ locker room, a completely renovated fitness space for weight lifting, wrestling practice and fitness classes, and a gutted and updated boys’ locker room.
Clark Patterson Lee Interior Designer Carly Owczarczak chose materials and colors to brighten the tight, dark room — tile climbs the walls, new dynamic flooring replaced cold concrete, and old column showers swapped out for private, individual shower heads. In addition, plastic lockers were put in place for their long-lasting, mold- and rust-resistant nature.
“I still walk into the new space and am in awe,” said Portville Central School District Athletic Director Beth Colligan. “The locker rooms are so professional that it gives our students renewed energy and school pride. That feeling carries over to other aspects of the school.”
Since the athletic complex opening at the end of January, the school has seen increased use of its facilities by students and community members.
“Our facility is abuzz right now — the usage from students and community members is just outstanding,” said Colligan. “Before the renovations, we had the same group of people using our gym. Now, we’re getting members who have never worked out before because the space and environment are state-of-the-art and welcoming.”
With the updates, the district plans to implement new programs this fall that were previously not feasible due to space limitations. The programs will focus on engaging students in a wider range of physical activities, and will include strength and conditioning for athletes and guest speakers for physical education classes.