Pine-Richland, PA – After much anticipation and a period of displacement, Pine-Richland High School’s new gymnasium has finally become a reality, bringing joy to athletes and spectators alike. The grand unveiling of this state-of-the-art facility marked a significant moment in the school’s history, offering athletes a promising platform for their pursuits.
Throughout the construction phase, Pine-Richland’s athletes endured an itinerant existence, with most of their games played on the road and only select home matches hosted in an auxiliary gym. However, the promise of a modern, fully-equipped gym kept their spirits high. And, once the long-awaited day arrived, the athletes discovered that the wait had indeed been worth it.
On October 17, the Pine-Richland Rams celebrated their official return to home court, and two days later, on October 19, they hosted North Allegheny in a match that also served as the gym’s grand opening ceremony.
For Pine-Richland’s girls’ volleyball coach, Angela Seman, the new gym is a game-changer. She commented, “This is a great gym for volleyball. The way it is set up with the crowd completely surrounding the court gives us the opportunity to have an interactive game with the crowd and be able to feel their energy. We’re definitely thrilled to finally be in here. It’s good knowing in the coming years that we have a great facility to train in and a gym that is made for us to be successful in our sport. We appreciate that the school district put so much time and effort into this.”
The gym’s innovative design includes seating on all four sides, as well as a full 90-degree rotation of the facility. Among the new additions are a large video board on the right wall and freshly painted Ram logos adorning the green and white walls throughout the gym.
This newly constructed space is set to accommodate both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams as well as the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams. Pine-Richland Superintendent Brian Miller acknowledged the long-term vision that led to this achievement, stating, “This was a vision that started in 2016. We did an athletics facilities study, and over the last seven or eight years, we’ve done dozens of projects around the district. Redesigning this space was really a challenge for us. Our goal was to get 1,520 seats so we could put our entire student body here.”
The gym’s inauguration was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with school board members, facilities managers, athletic director Joe Gironda, and representatives from Eckles Construction Services in Zelienople, who spearheaded the construction project, all in attendance.
As a symbol of the new beginning, the honor of cutting the ribbon was bestowed upon four seniors from the Rams girls’ volleyball team: Sofia Morse, Sydney Servagno, Macey Hayes, and Kaylee Oglan. Morse expressed the team’s gratitude, saying, “It’s a real honor to be able to open the gym and be the first ones to play on this court and make this our new home. We’re really appreciative for everyone that did everything they could to get us in the gym as soon as they could.”
In addition to the grand opening, Pine-Richland used this occasion to host its annual “Spike Out Cancer” night, coinciding with their match against North Allegheny. The event featured a silent auction, enabling patrons to purchase tickets for an opportunity to win baskets provided by local businesses, with all funds raised going to the American Cancer Society.
The Pine-Richland gymnasium’s grand opening is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the school district, and it promises to provide a thriving environment for student-athletes for years to come.