A crew working to renovate a gymnasium at a high school in Colorado recently discovered a set of bleachers hidden behind a wall, which put the project on hold.
Palisade High School has been transforming its old school gymnasium to one that could serve the community when workers came across the unexpected find, the Daily Sentinel reported.
“During the asbestos (remediation) we found bleachers,” town administrator Janet Hawkinson told the newspaper. "They had been closed off 15 years ago when they remodeled the gym. I didn’t know why they were there." Hawkinson said some people claimed to know the bleachers were enclosed in the interior wall.
The gym remodel is part of a larger project to remove the old high school building and construct a health clinic in the town of Palisade. The gym, which was still usable, was left behind to be remodeled.
The discovery of the bleachers prompted the town to put the remodel on hold as it decided what to do. If the town wanted to keep the bleachers, the building code would require that it build two sets of stairs to access them.
“To build them internally inside the gym would have gotten in the way of basketball courts and the walls weren’t strong enough,” Hawkinson told the Daily Sentinel. .
The town did opt to keep the bleachers and construct the staircases on the exterior of the building and box them in with new walls. The change in the project caused about a six-month delay, Hawkinson said, but was worth it.
“It took a while to decide,” Hawkinson said, as reported by the Daily Sentinel. “We had to get pricing. [project contractor] Dare-Case gave us a couple different options with staircases. We had to get a structural engineer, so it took a while to design all that … It’s really nice actually. It really opens up the gym and makes it a nicer space with natural light.”
The bleachers will add some interesting options, Hawkinson said. The building includes basketball courts and is painted to accommodate pickleball, as well. Hawkinson said a group could host a tournament with spectators now thanks to the inclusion of the seating.
In addition to the courts there is also a stage, which Hawkinson said she hopes can be utilized in the future for shows or concerts.
She said yoga and karate classes are other potential uses.
For now, the town is focused on getting the renovation finished.
Hawkinson praised Dare-Case for going above and beyond to help the town and not charging for the work stoppage. The town also went to lengths to preserve some architectural elements from the old school building, including a front and side door facade. In some locations, cutouts were included that display the historic construction methods of the original gym.
The renovation is now in the home stretch, Hawkinson told the newspaper. The town is now working to have the building open later this summer, with a grand opening projected at the beginning of August.