Lake Shore is opening the doors Friday to the new high school gym to the community Friday with hopes of a dual victory.
In addition to opening night for the new facility, and starting the home basketball season, there will be a food and clothing drive for St. Margaret of Scotland Church.
"We're excited about it because not only can we share the great improvements that have taken place here at Lake Shore, but we're coupling it with helping out the community, the hungry, by working with St. Margaret's," superintendent Christopher Loria said.
The new gym was needed because of a Title IX legislation ruling that stated boys and girls seasons must be at the same time.
According to Donald Kling, director of facilities and transportation, Lake Shore did not have the gym space available for all the practices. Because of scheduling conflicts, some students would be at practice as late as 10 p.m.
"This forced many districts to add performance gyms," Kling said.
Funding for the new gym came from the extension of a 2008 bond. The extension generated $9.7 million, which was also used to make renovations to the other schools in the district.
At the high school, Lake Shore was able to build a new, more secure entrance at the back of the school and a commons area in addition to the gym. The new entrance is a way of saying "Welcome to Lake Shore," Kling said.
The new gym is just more than 17,000 square-feet and has seating for almost 2,000 people, as well as an indoor, rubberized track. While some high school basketball courts are 84 feet long, the court at Lake Shore is 94 feet long, the same size as an NBA-regulation court.
"We can now host regional tournaments and final district games," Kling said. "It does not limit what we can do."
The commons area outside of the gym houses a student store and a concession stand which is open during games. Technology also allowed them to broadcast video of a game into the commons area.
"With this video platform we can simulcast the game. So if you leave for some reason, to go to the concession stand or the bathroom, you can still see the game," Kling said. "Response to the gym has been overwhelming, students and community members that have seen it have been blown away."
The grand opening coincides with the first boys' home game. The event starts at 6:30 and there will be a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7 p.m., between junior varsity and varsity games.
"We do have a lot of special invited guests coming, and then our community, so we're opened up to show off our new facility and at the same time to help the needy in a very needy time," Loria said.
Attendees who bring a new article of clothing, or canned good, to help those in need will get $2 off admission to the game.