Construction on a planned 37,500-square-foot gym, complete with lockers and office space, will begin in October at Paschal High School — a project that is expected to add more practice and competition space for extracurricular activities such as cheerleading, volleyball and basketball.
The project is being made possible by combining Fort Worth school district funding with more than $1 million in donations from the Paschal community.
“We are massive believers that the engaged student is a better student,” said Ken Schaeffer, board member of the Paschal Enrichment Foundation, which raises funds to boost Paschal resources and programs.
In June, the Fort Worth school board approved contracting with the foundation to help finance the gym. Under the contract, which was being finalized this month, the district will lease a piece of unimproved property for the construction of a building shell for the gym.
The total cost for the first phase of the project is estimated at $2.1 million, said Trustee Matthew Avila, who represents the area that includes Paschal.
“It’s going to be an exciting project,” Avila told the school board in June. “It is going to be great for those students.”
The facility will expand practice and competition opportunities for girls’ and boys’ sports and other activities. The school’s two existing gyms have become too small to accommodate students’ needs, Schaeffer said.
The new gym, which can be divided into half courts, will allow Paschal to host tournaments, Schaeffer said.
“It creates a lot more space,” he said, adding that there will be lockers for more than 300 students.
Avila said the project builds on the district’s plans to remodel field houses at its 13 high schools, part of a $490 million bond program approved by voters in 2013. Avila said many of the field houses were “not up to par.”
Construction of the new Paschal gym is expected to begin next month by Hansen Construction, according to the school district.
The foundation has set aside about $1.5 million in donations for the project. Some $629,878 is available from the district as reimbursement for turf installation at the high school that was paid for by boosters.
“We recognize that our school district is extremely stretched and can’t do everything,” Schaeffer said. “We are extremely grateful for the partnership for FWISD that serves as a model for other schools.”
Once the foundation completes its part of the project, district spokesman Clint Bond said, the gym shell will have little more than plumbing and some lighting, so the district will have to finish it out. The locker rooms, restrooms and office space, however, will be available for use.
After the first phase is finished, Bond said, the district “will conclude the lease and resume control of the property and continue construction using the $1 million allocated by the board for field houses.”
After the second phase, more work will remain to make the gym a competition-level facility. Money for the remainder of the project has not been identified, Bond said.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
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