Inside the Parkview gym, showing the stage and court floor

The court borders in the Parkview Elementary School gym are very near the walls.

Facilities Planning: Physical education

Posted October 2, 2017

As the Plymouth School District conducts a thoughtful evaluation of its facilities, one top priority is more space for physical education.

“We have been a leader in emphasizing the wellness of the whole child, and adequate gym space is a key part of that,” said Dan Mella, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The small gyms at Fairview and Parkview elementary schools limit the number of stations that P.E. teachers can have set up at any one time, which means students must wait for a turn. Larger, two-court gyms would allow for twice as much student movement in the same amount of time.

Two-court gyms, like that at Horizon Elementary School, also would give the other elementary schools a viable indoor recess option for those days when it is too cold to play outside.

They also would provide more court space for youth programs and other community uses. A two-court gym could be divided by a screen to accommodate twice as many users, or opened up to allow a full-court game. The court lines of the current gyms are very close to the walls, requiring players to be very agile near the borders.

Plymouth High School students also would benefit from additional physical education options and health-career curriculum. A multi-purpose indoor facility (see sidebar) could be used by gym classes, most athletic teams, and community groups.

In addition, the current weight room/fitness center, located in the basement, lacks adequate ventilation and is too small to meet current demand. The girls locker rooms were built when they just played intramurals, and are no longer adequate for the number of girls in physical education classes and competitive sports; to reach the athletic trainer, female athletes have to pass through a boys locker room or go outside.

While improvements to these facilities would primarily benefit students, they also would be available for use by youth and adult community groups. Plymouth does not have other indoor athletic facilities available to the community members, such as a YMCA.

“We have a long tradition of our schools being part of our community,” said Superintendent Carrie Dassow. “It’s very important to us that these facilities be available to the community.”

The district is drawing up plans to address these needs, which it is sharing with focus groups to get feedback, and will be conducting a community survey in October to get additional feedback.

Learn more:
• Visit the District Facilities Planning webpage.
• Learn about plans to enhance the PHS science curriculum.
• Learn about plans to enhance the PHS health careers curriculum.

Interior of Kimberly facility

Kimberly High School recently opened a multi-purpose indoor facility.

What is a multi-purpose indoor facility?

To increase the lifetime fitness and physical education offerings for students and to address the lack of indoor athletic facilities available in the community, the district is considering a multi-purpose indoor facility.

An increasing number of high schools are choosing to build such facilities because of their lower cost and higher versatility, as they can support a wide variety of physical education and health careers curriculum as well as community and extracurricular needs.

Unlike a fieldhouse, which has a wooden floor and is used primarily for basketball, a multi-purpose facility has a turf floor and can be used by many groups, such as:

  • Physical education classes
  • Lifetime fitness activities
  • School and community teams, including soccer, baseball, softball, golf, football, cross country, track and field
  • Marching band practice
  • Community events and recreation

The multi-purpose facility could be divided into as many as four smaller areas, so several groups could utilize it simultaneously.

A multi-purpose facility generally is considerably less expensive to build than a fieldhouse. It also is less expensive to maintain and operate, while providing multiple uses.