After years of dedicated service, the old Evening Shade school gym will soon be a thing of the past.
According to Cave City School District Superintendent Steven Green, the school board voted during its May 22 meeting to have the gym and the former agriculture building demolished.
"It's served its purpose," Green said.
The old gym, which is located next to the administration building at the Evening Shade school, is literally falling apart, Green said.
The gym was constructed in 1939 by the National Youth Administration, according to Sharon Kunkel, Evening Shade administrative assistant. According to Wikipedia, the NYA was a New Deal agency in the United States. It operated from 1935 to 1943 as part of the Works Progress Administration. By 1938, the NYA served 327,000 high school and college youth, who performed "work study" projects at their schools. The old agriculture building is nearly the same age, Kunkel said.
In the past, the school district has tried to brace walls of the gym with concrete pillars, but despite its efforts, the condition continues to decline.
"It's really a heart wrenching thing for me," Green said. Green himself is from Sidney and said he has always thought it would be nice if some of the old Sidney school buildings remained in the small town; however safety wins out over what one would like.
"I hate it, but when it gets to the point you have to worry about kids coming in and the possibility of rock falling and hitting them, it's time to shut it down," Green said.
In fact, the fire department has bolted up the building to prevent people from entering the gym. It has been boarded up since the beginning of school year, he said.
Kunkel said the gym hasn't been used for two years. Before that it had just minimal usage because of the condition of the floors, not the flooring, and the back wall coming apart.
"It's sad, but it's not safe," Kunkel said, adding that it isn't feasible financially to restore the building to its former glory, especially with the new gym, the Burt Reynolds Gymnasium, available for use on the campus. The new gym, was constructed in the early 1990s and was primarily paid for by the sale of the Evening Shade Cookbook that drew on the success of the television sitcom Evening Shade which starred Reynolds as Wood Newton, an ex-professional football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers who returns to rural Evening Shade to coach a high school football team with a long losing streak.
The old gym isn't all that will be demolished. So will the former agriculture building at the Evening Shade campus. It too is in bad physical condition.
The Evening Shade Fire Department hosted a consignment auction at the old gym this past weekend. During the auction, one 10-foot by 10-foot section of the old hardwood floor was auctioned off. More sections of the old floor, along with other school property no longer needed, such as old lockers and old basketball jerseys, will be sold in the coming weeks; however, a date has not yet been set.
"It gives folks an opportunity to buy a piece of their memories," Green said.
All of the funds generated from the sale will go back into the Evening Shade campus.
"Every dollar raised from selling something is going back into the Evening Shade Math and Science Academy," Green said.
The school district is soliciting bids for the demolition and cleanup of the two buildings. Bids must be received by the school board by June 24. They will then be opened during the June 26 school board meeting. Green said he hopes the work is completed by Aug. 1.