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East High gym’s roof in desperate need of repair

The old East High gym, now part of Bremerton’s Youth Wellness Campus, is in dire need of a new roof.

“We need to get a roof on this gym as soon as possible because it may not make it through another winter if we don’t fix it,” said Bremerton Youth Wellness Campus Executive Director Patricia Hennessy.

The old gym, which is about 30,000 square feet, and an auxiliary gym, at about 10,000 square feet, are covered by the same leaky roof. Early estimates peg total roof repairs at somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000.

“Earlier this year, the auxiliary gym took a pretty hard hit and it’s unusable right now because of all the damage that’s been done, so the Boys and Girls Club can’t use it at all,” Hennessy said, noting that the main gym, at least for now, is still in use.

Hennessy said that the gym is a cornerstone of the entire campus and a big part of Bremerton’s history.

“We don’t want the gym to go away because we can’t reroof it,” she said. “It’s a top, top priority and we’ve bumped it to the front of the ($16 million fundraising) line.”

Hennessy says that private grants, state funding and individual donations are all being pursued to replace the roof.

“We’re leaving no stone unturned and turning over all of those stones quickly so that we can get those funds to do the repairs,” she said.

One such fund-raising effort will be a “prom” set to be held June 28. More information about the special fund-raising event will be forthcoming in Youth Wellness Campus newsletters which folks can sign up for at www.youthcampus.org. Supporters can also follow the Youth Wellness Campus on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing updates.

The gym is part of a campus that includes a $3.5 million Boys and Girls Club that opened in November along with a low-cost dental clinic. The Bremerton School District plans to house a $4 million central kitchen on the campus in coming years while demolishing about 125,000 square feet of unused former classroom space. Other plans for the seven-acre site call for improved green spaces, a music pavilion, a farmers’ market and more.

Built in 1955, the original gym includes room for side-by-side basketball practices. The newer auxiliary gym building provides space for yet another game or practice. The gym is a highly coveted space used by numerous youth sports and fitness organizations. It is currently being used by 20 groups serving more than 600 youth.

Supporters say that once the gym is re-roofed and fully renovated, it will become a hub of fitness and physical activity — in an area with very few similar options. Local youth will be able to take part in basketball leagues, PeeWee sports, open gym sessions and other youth-related programs, all operating in the gym.

 

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