Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

New Bonita Gym Opens Amid Great Fanfare

August 29, 2012
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Could the new gym become known as the house that Nikki Wheatley built? Holding that big pair of scissors, she looks ready to slice up the competition.

Could the new gym become known as the house that Nikki Wheatley built? Holding that big pair of scissors, she looks ready to slice up the competition.

 

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There was so much applause at Bonita high school on Tuesday night that you would have thought the school had just won another CIF championship or league title.

But the applause was for the official opening of the new $7.7 million Bonita gym (retrofitting and modernization of the old gym continues), which drew a large back-to-school night crowd and a long list of local VIPs eager to welcome a new era in Bonita athletics.

 

 

 

 

Like a thrilling basketball game, construction on the new gym went down to the final seconds. A crew was hammering down thresholds and cleaning up the metals shavings moments before the ceremony started.

“It’s going to be a great competition venue,” Bonita principal Bob Ketterling said. “We can hold bigger events. We can get our practices done earlier. We can get everybody home a little earlier.”

The two-year construction project ran about 48 days behind schedule, but on the plus side, it came in substantially under budget.

“About $1.5 million under budget,” Ketterling confirmed. “In boom time, you just wouldn’t have got that,” noting that contractors in a tough economy had to lower their bids to be competitive.

Ketterling added that once the project broke ground, construction crews found more water than anticipated. Other than that surprise, there were few other obstacles to delay construction.

“We found no Indians, dinosaurs, or meteors,” Ketterling said.

What Ketterling did find was an enthusiastic crowd and cross-section of officials from the school board and district, city council, bond oversight board, chamber of commerce, Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office, Mount SAC, Bonita boosters, and other organizations, eager to inspect the new gym and inhale the still un-scuffed and unscratched polyurethane-coated floors.

Bonita Unified School Board President Glenn Creiman had just one thought:

“I just wonder,” he said, “whether the rafters are going to be big enough given all the CIF championships Bonita has won lately.”

 After the game, walk up to the Pizza Barn, Bonita’s unofficial uptown watering hole for great post-game celebrations!

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