Jennifer Therriault, left, Christine Bohm and Justin Mark, respective parent advisory chairwoman, principal and vice-principal for École Hammond Bay Elementary School, show the new section of the school gym. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s École Hammond Bay school unveils new gym expansion

Larger gym can accommodate home games and assemblies

Volleyball and basketball players at École Hammond Bay Elementary School are now able to play home games on home court.

The school’s gym used to be undersized, with overlapping basketball keys and a capacity for 312 people, and the Hammond Bay Hornets had to play home games on the road. Previous efforts to expand the gym languished, but in 2018, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board green-lit a plan to expand the gym. Work began in June and saw an addition to the gym and new lighting that was completed this past December and can now accommodate 509.

Justin Mark, school vice-principal, said home-court advantage was impossible previously.

“We weren’t able to host proper volleyball games because the court size wasn’t regulation, so students would almost be hitting their arms when they were serving and so now we’re able to host two games at the same time. The same with basketball … the three-point lines would touch,” said Mark.

“Everything would overlap, three steps and you’d be at the next basket,” added Christine Bohm, principal.

RELATED: Province’s support will mean more classrooms

RELATED: Larger gym could be on the way for Hammond Bay

RELATED: Parent’s plead for Hammond Bay gym expansion

RELATED: Hammond Bay gym expansion languishes

Jennifer Therriault, longtime parent advisory council chairwoman, and her group had been long advocating for a full-sized gym. There were many false starts, but it is good to finally see their efforts bearing fruit, she said. She’s been involved in the school for 13 years, and PAC for eight, and there were times she didn’t think it would happen.

“I came onboard when my daughter started in kindergarten with a group that had already been established as a small gym committee to try and advocate for a large gym at this site and that happened previously for years as well,” said Therriault. “So over the years, certainly the excitement and willingness to advocate for that ebbed and flowed because parents kind of give up and as people have been here for five years and seen nothing, think, ‘Oh, is it even worth it?’ but we persevered. For me, I knew at some point, it would happen.

“The hope was that I would see it, that one of my children would see it – which happened – which is really awesome, but the most exciting part is that the kids that are in kindergarten this year have no idea. Their reality will be what everybody else has.”

Bohm said it is great to finally use the gym and the children are enjoying it.

“We had a Christmas concert and we were able to put 90 students in here performing at the same time and our gym was full of parents,” said Bohm.

The gym cost $1.5 million, according to the school district. An unveiling ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 24.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary has been fundraising for 120 years

Hospital auxiliary president says group pioneered Wi-Fi at hospitals on Island

Gabriola Island community bus sees 100,000th rider

Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express celebrated milestone Jan. 25

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor and council aren’t necessary

Instead of candidates, put municipal priorities on the ballot, says letter writer

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Pro wrestler Raven to re-live ECW, WCW, WWE days

Pro wrestler host a talk Jan. 31 at the Queen’s in Nanaimo

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Most Read