Community

Stories Needed about “That Old Gym”

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Press Release, Central, LA June 16

    A group of Central residents is applying to the Foundation for Historical Louisiana for "That Old Gym" to be part of their list of "Treasures in Trouble." In 2007, the Foundation initiated this program as a version of an "endangered list" for the nine parishes in the capital region.  As part of the application process, the Central Restoration Committee is asking the people of Central for stories about "That Old Gym."

    The "Treasures in Trouble" Committee, this year chaired by Mark Drennen, is contemplating taking a thematic approach to this year's list by identifying Louisiana's vintage school buildings and historic cemetaries as a threatened category.

    There is much interest for many residents of Central to preserve "That Old Gym", located on Sullivan Road next to Central Middle School.  Many residents have fond memories of this 84 year old structure.  "It was the hub of our Central community for many years," states Joan Lansing, "It was used for such events as graduations, proms, and meetings."  Ceremonies were held indoors and open-air.  It is even said that former Governor Jimmy Davis once performed there.

    Graydon Walker, in an interview with Central Speaks, remembered playing basketball in the old gym: "There were 2 pot-bellied stoves in the gym, and basketball players could look forward to a cold shower after a game since there was no hot water!"

    Although the building still stands as the Central Middle School girls' gym, due to deterioration it has not been used in years.  If it can be restored, there could be many future uses for the building.  Some uses might be as a historical center, a chamber of commerce center, or a memorial to our fallen soldiers.

    Putting "That Old Gym" on the endangered list would create more interest in preserving it and might lead to potential grants and restoration counseling.  It has historical integrity and is one of the two oldest public buildings in Central.  The Greenwell Springs Hospital was also built in the 1920's.

    The Central Restoration Committee is looking forward to receiving any stories the public might have on the history of "That Old Gym."  You can email your stories to Editor@CentralSpeaks.com or drop them by 12023 Sullivan Rd.  The deadline for these stories is Friday, July 15th.

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