Inside Mercer's new gym
(See photo slideshow below this post.)
You want to look. You know you do.
Most of you won’t get the chance to see the gymnasium at Mercer County’s new school until at least next week, and perhaps some time after that. You could take my word that it’s truly a basketball palace, but you don’t have to.
Thanks to an open invitation from Mercer athletic director Todd Davis and a relatively easy-to-understand Internet program, I bring you this blog’s first attempt at a photo slideshow at the bottom of this post. I visited the Mercer gym on Monday and took photos both inside and out, and the slideshow should give you a pretty thorough look at the first new basketball facility to open in this area since Mercer’s elementary school gym, which hosted the school’s girls team, opened in 1984 and the first new gym in the 12th Region since Southwestern opened its doors in 1993.
Mercer’s boys and girls teams will use the gym, which opens to the public Monday night for Mercer’s girls game against Danville. The boys host Pulaski County the next night.
The photos pretty much speak for themselves, but here are a few things to know:
- Fans who attend games won’t use the main entrance to the school, but rather a separate entrance that leads to a lobby just outside the gym that also doubles as the cafeteria. The gym is on the far left of the building as you view the front from Moberly Road — it has “MCSHS” on the outside wall — and the basketball entrance is immediately to the right.
- Once inside, the gym is to your left. You can enter from either level of the two-story lobby, although school officials could close the upper level if a big crowd isn’t expected. You can also reach the upper seats from just inside the doors leading from the lobby to the gym.
- The gym’s seating capacity is listed at 2,510, which dwarfs that of Mercer’s two old gyms. There are 15 rows of seats on each side of the lower level, and another 11 rows on each side in the upper level. (The view from the first two or three rows of the upper bleachers is obstructed by a railing, however.) There are balconies above both baselines, but no seats in them. They’re very similar to the walkways at Rockcastle County and Southwestern. Scoreboards hang from each balcony, and they’re wireless.
- All of the seats can be rolled back, and the lower bleachers retract to reveal three full-length courts. Instead of additional goals on the side, they are on the same ends of the floor as the main baskets.
- There are five locker rooms, four of normal size and one that’s about half that size, which is presumably where the officials would dress. Two of the locker rooms have large red lockers that look like they’ll be used by Mercer’s boys and girls; the others look like they’d be used by physical education classes during the day and visiting basketball teams at night. Doors from each corner of the gym lead to a hallway that has an office, a locker room and a storage room.
There are plenty of opportunities to see the new gym in the coming days. Mercer hosts a girls game Monday and boys games Tuesday and Friday of next week, and the Mercer girls will play most of their new holiday tournament there Dec. 29-31.
There’s also an open-house scheduled for Thursday night, which will give you the chance to see all of this magnificent new school. There’s a wonderful 400-seat auditorium just steps away from the gym, a nice-looking library and over 93,000 square feet in all.
This slideshow focuses only on the gym. There are 22 photos in all: