By Traci Chapman
Mustang Public Schools last week saw the end of an era, as the district’s high school “old gym” was demolished, to make way for the MHS Science Academy.
“Mustang is one of the most unique towns – it has grown from a town along a winding dirt road with 30 graduates a year to a booming area that still manages to hold on to its small-town feel, despite the growth in enrollment of 200 to 500 students each year,” Mustang Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel said. “The PE building has served the district well, and we are doing what we can to honor its place in the history of Mustang Public Schools.”
Former Mustang High School Principal Don Anderson, who worked for the district in the 1950s/early 1960s and who also coached in the old gym, was on hand to signal the start of the building’s demolition. The district contracted with Midwest Wrecking to take down both the old gym and old vo-ag building, situated next to it; after a few minor delays, the final demolition took place Aug. 11.
The gym went back to the 1940s, administrators said. In recent years, the facility has been used less and less because it had such size limitations, as well as other issues. Officials said it would take more than $500,000 just to bring the structure up to code – something not feasible when looking at the needs of a district now topping 11,000 in student population.
The building was not forgotten completely, however. Some of the its flooring will be retained, sanded and shaped and made available to some who have memories of the historic gym, McDaniel said. The district’s athletic department will announce an ordering process for the mementos this fall, he said.
The MHS Science Academy was part of the $180.8 million bond issue passed by voters earlier this year. The $8 million academy is quickly moving up the district’s to-do list; already this year, MPS has broken ground on its eighth elementary and third intermediate schools, as well as at Canyon Ridge Intermediate, for construction of a band room there.
According to district schedules – which can vary due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances – expected to start-up next are the district’s $5 million transportation relocation and warehouse construction, the Mustang Educational Resource Center, expected to cost $6.5 million, and $1 million in soccer improvements. Listed as the bond issue’s seventh project, the science academy, at least on the district’s most recent estimates, was expected to start in October.