CALEXICO – Calexico Unified School District Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening in celebration of the newly renovated Calexico High School Varner Gym.
Over 100 people, including faculty, community members and various sports teams attended the long-awaited unveiling of the gymnasium’s modernized new look.
“We had waited so long for this moment and it’s here,” said Gabrielle Williams-Ballesteros, CHS principal. “This is very exciting for us.”
Last year, Calexico Unified School District (CUSD) received $4 million as one-time unrestricted discretionary funds from the State which could be used at the district’s discretion. In January, the CUSD Board of Trustees approved to use $1 million from the funding and invest it into the gymnasium’s renovation.
Varner Gym was originally constructed along with Calexico High School in 1952.
“With age, comes pain, and Varner gym was at that point,” said Maria Ambriz, CUSD superintendent. “The floors were damaged. The basketball players would tell me they knew where the dead spots were and would use those to their advantage. There were nails coming out of the floor and our restrooms were not ADA Compliant.”
The gymnasium went through a major and much-needed overhaul that included new hard wood floors, new electric bleachers, restrooms renovated to be ADA compliant, new air conditioning units, roof repair and a new stage lift. The work was completed by Nielsen Construction California, Inc. of San Diego.
“When you (the community) talk to your board members, believe it or not they listen,” said Ambriz. “This is one of the board’s biggest investments and now is part of their legacy. Pride, honor and excellence, that is exactly what defines Calexico Unified.”
Throughout the celebration, CHS cheerleaders, a drum line and the school band entertained the attendees with various performances followed by hor d’oeurvres and drinks.