By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The Stayton Boosters and North Santiam School District have decided to move up their latest project at Stayton High School with the recent school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past five years, Stayton High School has added a turf field, hitting facilities for their baseball and softball teams, resurfaced the tennis courts and painted every sports structure to name a few of the projects entering this current project at hand.
But this particular project, working on the High School Basketball Gym, has been a challenging one to say the least. They turned the focus to the gym in December and had originally scheduled for July with most of the work happening over the Moratorium Week to avoid as to not interrupt any practices or summer sporting events.
As the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into their plans, they have made the most of this opportunity that has been given to them.
“COVID essentially crippled our volunteering ability; we are following all the new rules and we would never take any health risks while improving our school,” said Booster Club Vice-President Randy Forrette. “The rock stars for this project have been the members of our maintenance staff. They jumped in and took care of all the work in just a few days.
“I’ve just been texting, calling, and emailing, and the maintenance staff has been doing all the real work. There’s no way this would have happened without their willingness to adapt.”
That meant calling Mike Miller to see if his staff could make it happen. Travis King and several other District Maintenance staff worked at removing every banner inside the gym, sign and backboard and prepped the gym for the paint job ahead.
Those maintenance staff are the best in the State said Forrette.
“They saw an opportunity to help boosters, our school, and most importantly, our unemployed community members, and they found a way to make the project happen,” he said.
Of the record-breaking over 120,000 dollars raised at February’s Annual Auction, 24,000 of that went towards this gym update.
The update includes a lot of wall repair, painting the ceiling, ceiling beams, backboard support hardware and the walls. This past week, the school district contributed additional funds to help paint the ceiling of the Wrestling room on the second level of the gym.
“It’s great to have the whole gym done,” said Forrette as the main paint job finished up Friday. “If things go well, we will be redoing the court next year.”
What will be strange about this project is that those iconic four flying Eagles that have graced the basketball gym walls for 27 years, will be covered and replaced with a new iconic Eagle logo.
“We have loved our four flying eagles for 27 years. They are nothing short of iconic,” said Forrette. “We’ve been kicking around this update idea for the last five years because it’s just hard to change such an important part of our school and our history. We recently got to the point that the paint was literally falling off the walls and really didn’t have a choice to keep them any longer.
“We are still working on our replacement plan. We have a design in mind, but we are taking the next week or two to explore several options. We have several boosters and SHS admin working together, hoping to find that same “wow factor” our flying eagles always provided.”
Brad Johnson will add the new Eagle Logo that followed the main paint job by Lindsay’s Painting. Athletic Director Darren Shryock will be updating and rehanging the State and conference banners.
“We are looking forward to seeing the finished project and holding an open house/ribbon cutting as soon as possible,” said Forrette.