Letter to the Editor: Let’s Save the Rogers High School Gym

To the Editor

On a recent visit to Rogers to watch the girls basketball team play and Maeve Crowley achieve the 1000 point milestone (congrats to Maeve!), I was reminded, as I always am when I attend a game, that the Rogers gym is a beautiful space in which to both play and watch a game. I have a stomach ache from the sadness of watching the auditorium reduced to rubble and would like to make a plea now before it’s too late that as a community we band together to save the gym.

My husband and I traveled around the state watching high school basketball through the years when our daughter played for Rogers and two student athletes living with us played on the boys team. During all those visits, we never entered a gym that came close to being as nice as the Rogers gym. I would argue that the Rogers gym is the best high school gym in the state. Most of the gyms at other high schools are closed cinder block spaces with somewhat limited seating and rubber floors. Compared to the Rogers gym with its hardwood floors, they feel claustrophobic and the synthetic floors underfoot cannot hold a candle to the hardwood in the Rogers gym. The open airy aesthetic of the Rogers gym with the workout spaces in the alcoves above and the ample seating and windows instead of cinderblock on the north side of the gym create for those of us who are gym lovers, an architecturally perfect space. This is a space worth preserving.

I understand that saving the gym would require funding and that the new school is over budget, but Newport is a City known for recognizing the value in preserving historic buildings and for many of us the Rogers gym is filled with memories and history. As a child, I watched the high school boys teams play every year in the Christmas tournament, a time when the lower and upper tiers were filled. I watched my older sister play for the girls team and later my younger sister and I played. We watched the magical games during the year Manute Bol and Spud Webb played summer ball there. When I worked briefly at Rogers, I was able to experience the annual pep rallies in the gym that easily holds the whole school. I’m sure most others who grew up attending Newport public schools have similar memories. But saving the gym goes beyond our memories and nostalgia, it’s simply a beautiful gym and deserves to be preserved. It will be a waste, disgrace and a complete shame if we allow it to be demolished.

Mardie Corcoran




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