Raising the Roof on the Dawg House
by Charlene Paul
The beginning of the new year ushered in big changes for the Bulldogs of Virgin Valley High School. After sitting through meetings, waiting for bond approval, and watching for the bond oversight committee to give their final consent, the Clark County School District finally granted their blessing for a much-needed new gymnasium at the high school.
Soon after the approval, construction fences went up and preparation for construction commenced with the demolition of the crossfit room and relocation of the underground utilities. February ended as main lines were connected and tons of dirt was moved for the pad footings.
Digging, dirt-moving, and prep work continued into March, and an access road between the gym and the football field was created. A trench for drainage was dug on the east side of the existing gym, and footings for the new wrestling room were etched deep into the earth, while anticipation grew.
Electrical lines were pulled, footings were poured, a couple of rows of blocks were laid, and rebar was set for the columns at the entrance of the gym during the week of Spring Break. A block mock-up of the gym colors was built behind the school, adding to the excitement of the reality of the new gym. By the end of April, a concrete pad covered the expertly excavated dirt.
By week fourteen, the walls ascended, door frames were placed, and the gym took shape day by thrilling day. At just over twenty feet tall and almost halfway to their finished height of forty-five feet, the gym walls gave shape to the new building. The retaining wall for the access road running from the back of the gym and past the football field, exiting by the Bulldog arch could be seen by onlookers anxious for the completion of the gym.
Week nineteen saw the north, south, and west walls standing upright against the bright blue desert sky. The east wall would be completed once the ceiling rafters were set in place the following week, when the lobby area and wrestling room would also be completed.
Week twenty-one saw the ceiling joists in place, the walls completed, the block work finished, and the roof deck laid. The lobby walls and east wall were finished in spite of the hot temperatures. No matter how challenging weather conditions, general contractor, CORE Construction, didn’t miss a beat.
A great reason for celebrating was realized during week twenty-two when the air conditioning duct work was being placed, and the lobby connecting the new gym to the existing facility was completed. Inside the gym, team rooms were framed and ceiling beams were hung in the entryway and wrestling room.
The anticipated substantial completion goal of October 30, 2017 made the heat of July a little easier to bear. Exterior framing and stucco began and the installation of the roofing made what was once a dream of this much-awaited gymnasium a reality.
The gym ceiling was painted in time for the beginning of the new school year, and just two weeks later, the wood for the gym floor arrived. Hardware for the baskets was placed and electrical wiring continued to be pulled. Doors were hung during week thirty-one and the roar of the road grading equipment behind the gym could be heard far and wide.
During the weeks of September, the front of the gym was readied for stucco, the interior walls were primed for paint, and sound boards were hung on the walls. The basketball standards were up, the acoustic tiles were painted Bulldog green, and the team rooms were taped, awaiting texture and paint.
Curb and gutter for the road behind the gym is now finished, and the road is paved. The tile on the team room bathroom walls is in place, and the glass is in the front doors. Concrete for the sidewalks around the gym is cured, and the paint in the lobby and bathrooms is dry.
Of course, no construction is ever complete without a few snags here and there. And construction on this beautiful gymnasium is no different. Laying the wood flooring had to be put on hold while the contractor figured out some issues with the concrete pad in the gym.
Somewhere in the midst of the construction, Principal Cliff Hughes figured out that the Clark County School District funding would not provide for chairs, tables, wall and floor graphics, and other necessary items. So, a plea went out to the community. The response has been overwhelming. Donations poured in from local businesses, private citizens, and groups. Hughes is a little reluctant to give specific names for fear he may leave some out. But he is quick to add that this community has come together for this project in ways that have been both humbling and overwhelming.
As a Moapa Valley Pirate fan, I was a little hesitant to have my name attached to anything Bulldog. But I am so excited for the students, faculty, teams, coaches, and the community of Mesquite. There is nothing quite like being able to root for the hometown high school. And there is nothing quite like living in a community like Mesquite where the importance of school pride, community togetherness, family loyalty, and a hard-work ethic join together to strengthen society as a whole. On behalf of my fellow Pirate fans, congratulations to the people of Mesquite on the completion of your new gym. And may I add, let the competition that will take place in this beautiful new facility live strong and healthy for years to come.