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Bond Election 2019: Athletic facility improvements
Bond Election 2019: Athletic facility improvements
Posted on 09/06/2019

Proposed high school bond includes athletic facility benefits

Did you know when there’s an all-school assembly at Puyallup High School they often cancel gym classes for set-up and clean-up? There simply isn’t enough space in the gymnasium for both and having physical education outside isn’t always possible due to the weather.

Puyallup high schools have outgrown the space needed for physical education and athletics. This doesn’t just affect athletes, it affects every high school student enrolled in a fitness class.

According to Jim Meyerhoff, Director of Instructional Leadership for Athletics, Health and Fitness for the district, none of Puyallup’s high schools have what is considered an auxiliary gym. And he says, most high schools in the state do have them. An auxiliary gym should be separate from the main gym and large enough for basketball, volleyball and fitness class activities.

Last January in a report to the Bond Advisory Committee, Meyerhoff outlined the current state of health and fitness facilities in the district. Building conditions for high school athletics and physical education building were carefully considered by the BAC before they made a High School Improvements Bond package recommendation to the Puyallup School Board in June 2019.

If approved in November 2019, the High School Facility Improvements for Safety, Security, and Growth construction projects will improve the health and fitness/athletic facilities at Puyallup, Rogers, and Emerald Ridge high schools.

Why high school gymnasium facilities need improvements

Meyerhoff says the key issues are not enough space and some facilities are aging. For example, the weight room at Puyallup High School started as a laundry room in the late 1950’s and has expanded over the years to its current configuration.

  1. Teams are having to find alternative locations to practice and sometimes cancel practices. In 2014-15 ninth-graders began participating in high school sports which increased the use of facilities.
    • Athletic sports, such as basketball, are practicing at alternative locations like feeder junior high schools. When the junior highs have home events, other groups who use the gym are impacted and are often canceled.
    • Cheer, dance, and Unified sports need gym space, especially in a crowded winter season where all activities take place inside in one gymnasium.
    • Gymnastics teams at all three high schools’ must setup their equipment and put it away every day.
    • Two additional tennis courts are needed at each high school to run a varsity match. The number of tennis courts in the district cause longer wait times for students and visitors.


  2. Auxiliary gyms are needed to support physical education as another classroom space, and to provide additional opportunities for students to participate in high school sports. There are often three different high school fitness classes happening at the same time in one space. When a girls’ basketball team is playing an afternoon game, the Unified basketball, boys’ basketball, cheer or dance teams can still practice in the auxiliary gymnasium instead of canceling their activity.
  3. The district high school weight rooms are not large enough and do not align with weight rooms to support 4A schools in physical education classes or athletics.
  4. Puyallup High needs improved fields and more room to support baseball, softball, soccer and outside physical education. Sparks is the only option for some activities and is not always available.

“If somebody’s competing in the gym, then another team isn’t practicing. The teams do what they can,” says Meyerhoff. After school, the gyms at Emerald Ridge, Rogers, and Puyallup are almost always being used. Some of the district’s athletic teams rely on outside venues for practices and competitions.

Proposed Improvements to high school athletic facilities

Puyallup High School

Construct a new main gym, auxiliary gym, weight room, and locker rooms.


Rogers High School

Expand the existing physical education facilities with the addition of an auxiliary gym, weight room, restrooms, and 6 new tennis courts.


Emerald Ridge High School

Construct an auxiliary gym, weight room, gymnastics facility, and two new tennis courts.