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Saturday

April 2014

19

New Pewaukee gym still feels like home

The new gymnasium has three stations and can accommodate up to 1,500 spectators. While it's brand-new, it still hasn't lost its heart.

"What I love most about the new gymnasium is that it feels like our old gym, only bigger. It serves more people, yet it feels like our home turf," Sternke said.

That's no accident. Athletics Director John Maltsch toured many gymnasiums before meeting with the architects.

"That was our mission going in. We're going to do this right," Maltsch said, "We wanted to keep the mystique of the old gym. We still wanted to be Pirates."

They've already tested their sea legs in the gym. Maltsch said the larger space was critical to the football team this year when heavy rains turned their football fields into mud this fall. They finally had the indoor space needed for practice. He said that indoor soccer teams have the space to pass to each other, and the baseball teams or softball teams can practice drills or set up batting cages. Wrestling mats, too, can be placed (anywhere from four to eight) comfortably during tournaments or practices.

These are all things they couldn't do before.

"I think my favorite part of the new gym would be the dividers. They prove useful for certain units, like the floor hockey unit my class has. They help because it prevents … other people running into another game or the puck from going into another game, as well," said junior Aspen Johnson.

Floor hockey is just one example of the physical education units, some new, for Pewaukee High School.

Physical education teacher Karen Spurr said they're in the middle of exciting curriculum changes, adding new classes or tweaking their current ones to offer more variety. Dance or movement fitness, cardio, Zumba, kickboxing, team sports, ultimate Frisbee and floor hockey - these just a few options designed to appeal to any range of interests. The dividers are great for safety, double-booking and even separating a class into groups, she said.

"The new gym is a physical education teacher's dream that offers awesome space for students to be active, and at the same time allow for a variety of activities and skill levels for play and work," Spurr said.

The new space is also benefiting academics, Maltsch said. Because it's so much easier to share the space, practices and games finish earlier in the day. Last year, some students wouldn't get out until 9:30 p.m. because they had to wait for the gym to finish one activity before starting a different one.

"Now, they're out at 7 or 7:30, which makes so much more sense. They can hit the books and get to their homework a lot earlier," said Maltsch.

Youth groups, intramural sports and other community activities are also in the works.

"We did it the right way. We thought long and hard about it, and we did it right. I think it will pay back in dividends for the future, for both the students and the community," Maltsch said.

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