New Trier High School’s new gym had its first standing-room-only crowd over the weekend.
Community members, staff members and students packed the stands Saturday, Sept. 9, in Winnetka to welcome and hear more about the new facility, which opened prior to the 2023-’24 school year and replaced the aging Gates Gym and its accompanying facilities.
The open house included a dedication ceremony, remarks from school leaders, activity demonstrations and more. Chris Fleming, of Wilmette, who has a New Trier freshman, came with his family to explore the vast space.
“It’s impressive,” he said. “It’s a little different than the high school I went to. It feels more like a high-level university.”
Fleming particularly enjoyed the natural light pouring in from the abundance of high windows throughout the facility. He said he has three children he hopes will use the space. It was all new to his wife, Anne, who is from Germany.
“There isn’t anything comparable in my country,” she said with a laugh.
The new building features four levels of academic and athletic spaces. It was born out of the school district’s facilities plan that identified the Winnetka campus’s athletic spaces, including century-old Gates Gym, as inadequate.
A year-plus of discussion and study preceded the board’s unanimous approval in February 2021 of a $75-million plan to demolish Gates and construct a new building with a main gym, indoor track, training areas, academic spaces and more.
When The Record toured the space in early August, officials said they hope students can use its many features from before school through the evening hours. New Trier junior Alie Weedon, who was helping visitors during the open house, said she has done just that.
Weedon has had gym class in the main arena and enjoys visiting the new building during her free periods, whether for class work or to relax in the lounging area.
“I like it. The construction you had to work around last year, but I think it was worth it,” she said.
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