BANGOR, Maine — Basketball fans heading to Bangor High School this winter will notice a different look at Red Barry Gymnasium.
The gymnasium, built in 1964, has undergone a $136,000 face-lift this fall that includes replacing the original bleachers and wall paneling installed 47 years ago.
“We’ve carefully managed federal and state dollars over the last three years,” said Bangor Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb, “and that’s allowed us to use funding in a way to address some longstanding issues.”
In particular, the old wooden bleachers have been replaced with new, molded plastic bleachers that will provide a seating capacity of slightly more than 1,000, according to athletic administrator Steve Vanidestine.
The bleachers are in school colors, with the name “BANGOR” spelled out in white seats amidst the other cardinal red seats. The configuration of the new seating also is considered more accessible for fans with disabilities.
The wooden paneling along the lower walls of the three-court gymnasium has been replaced by ¾-inch plywood covered by carpeting made specifically for gymnasiums, providing enhanced sound quality and safety given that the aging paneling had become susceptible to splintering.
Additionally, the wooden floor has been sanded and refurbished for the first time in more than 15 years, Vanidestine said. In coordination with the school’s physical education department, the center court used for basketball games now includes only basketball lines while the surrounding courts have additional lines to accommodate other activities.
New gym divider curtains have been installed to replace the existing curtains that were more than 15 years old. The curtains are used to separate the three courts to provide for multiple team practices at the same time.
New padding also has been placed under the baskets of the center court.
“This was long overdue,” said Webb. “The bleachers were the original ones from when the school was built, and there were [Americans with Disabilities Act compliance] issues, even buying parts was difficult. The floor hadn’t been done in years, and that was the original paneling on the wall.”
The Bangor girls varsity and junior varsity basketball teams are scheduled to host Old Town in preseason games at Red Barry Gymnasium on Wednesday evening, and will play their regular-season home opener against Hampden Academy on Friday, Dec. 9.
The Bangor boys varsity team will host Hampden Academy, Portland and Deering of Portland for a four-game series of preseason games Saturday. Then after opening their regular season at Hampden on Dec. 9, the defending Class A state champion Rams will play their first home game against Messalonskee of Oakland on Tuesday, Dec. 13.