Editor in Chief
The Holliston High School Field House is home of a new center court, funded by The Friends of Holliston Basketball (FHB) which will be celebrated in a ceremony at halftime of the Boys’ Varsity game on Friday December 22nd.
Installed in mid-September, the court is the newest addition to the HHS athletics department.
The process of getting the new court from start to finish took approximately nine months and $130,000.
The project was executed by FHB who formed a small committee interested in replacing the court.
“It [the committee] was about six of us, and we definitely worked a lot of weekends and nights just to try to figure out how we could do this and make it all happen,” said Karen Jewett, President of Friends of Holliston Basketball.
The previous floor was severely in need of replacement, mainly due to safety concerns.
“When they came out and tested it [the old court], it was lacking any shock absorbency… and it had lost its slip resistance. So, those two factors alone made it something that could overtime cause damage to our athletes so we wanted to try to renovate,” said Jewett.
Sophomore basketball and volleyball player Katie Randlett said in an email that “people got hurt on the old [court] because of how slippery it was.”
The court led to constant slipping and sliding of players and Jewett said that “there’s a rumor going around that one town that we play against would practice in their socks to play against us because they knew that when they came here they’d be slipping all over the place.”
“I’m spending so much of my time there and I will definitely trip less because of the new floor,” said Randlett.
Another reason to renovate was due to the appearance of the court and that it was not something Holliston could be proud of.
“I think the biggest thing for our committee was to try to rebuild some pride in our field house because our old court was also disgusting looking and it was not really appealing, so we want to make sure that when all of the student athletes walk in here that they take some pride in their field house,” said Jewett.
Randlett said that “it [the court] makes our whole gym look nicer which reflects on how our town looks.”
The new court has many qualities that make it far superior to its predecessor, including that it is a wood floor rather than a synthetic one. It has a significant amount of slip resistance and 28% shock absorbency, both within the calculated standards.
As well as logistical improvements, the court has many aesthetically pleasing features including the Holliston Athletics logo which Jewett said makes the court appear “cleaner” and “very appealing to look at.”
The funding for the new court was completed in many different ways including donations from community members, selling ‘bricks’ to line the outside of the court, sponsor donations of either $1000, $2500, or $5000, and a $40,000 donation from Holliston Youth Basketball which was an effort with the school to waive their rental fee and donate the money towards the court.
A major component of the fundraising was the ‘brick’ sales. Community members purchased ‘bricks’ that came in three different sizes, costing $100, $250, and $500. These bricks were placed around the outskirts of the court which Jewett said is a nice way to “tie in the community.”
Friday’s ceremony will honor and thank the court’s sponsors from all three sponsorship levels for their donations and assistance throughout the entire operation.
Another way FHB will recognize the community sponsors is in the installation of a new scoring table that will have two sides, one reading ‘Holliston Panthers,’ the other listing the sponsors.
FHB and the court committee faced many obstacles along the way including time constraints, creative fundraising ideas, and unexpected issues involving the removal of the old court.
“I think the biggest challenge with any fundraising event or organization of this size is trying to do it so quickly [and] trying to come up with events and activities that people would want to participate in to raise this kind of money,” said Jewett.
While digging out the old court the committee discovered that, while they were under the understanding that it had an entirely asphalt base, it was actually a combination of asphalt and concrete.
“You need different machines to level asphalt than you do concrete so that was as setback,” said Jewett; “it was a setback timewise and financially, [the company] had to come back and bring in those big huge trucks … to level [the floor.]”
Jewett said that overall FHB has received “a ton of feedback, all positive” and that it is nice to “hear squeaky sneakers and know it’s working.”
Parents have reached out and said that they are happy that their student athletes have something they can “be proud of and play on,” said Jewett.
To further instill pride in the players and supporters of Holliston Basketball, the court celebration will also include a 1000 point banner raising to recognize all of the past HHS players who scored at least 1000 points in their basketball careers.
Jewett said that she has gained inspiration from the project, and hopes that some time in the future the possibility of refinishing the rest of the field house could be explored, and that FHB would be “happy to help with something like that.”
With the project complete and the court installed Jewett hopes that Holliston students maximize the court’s use and treat it well.
Said Jewett, “I hope that all the student athletes who see it [the court], take care of it… now we have something great and I hope it inspired pride in our athletics department and our student athletes to help take care of their field house.”