It’s difficult to credit one thing for the new look in the St. Mary’s School gymnasium.
“More than 1,500 hours went into this (project),” said Ellen Stevenson, who chairs the athletic association at the school, which has an enrollment of 140 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
Most of those hours came from parents working Camp Randall Stadium concessions for the entire University of Wisconsin football season, raising more than $10,000 to resurface the gym floor and unveiling a new logo of a knight. Volunteers also worked concessions during the WIAA state wrestling tournament at the Kohl Center, and they sold treats during Taste of Portage.
“You can see the pride of the kids when they come in here,” Stevenson said Friday morning during gym class.
“We take an insane amount of pride (in the school),” said Amy Jo Fisher, who heads the alumni committee.
It had been at least 10 years since the gym floor received work, and even longer since the Knights logo had been used, Principal Jamie Hahn said. Bringing back the Knights logo was a nod to the alumni “who still identify with us.” The school’s rebranding includes school colors — navy and gold — with all of the features designed or chosen by parents.
“We knew it needed a facelift,” Hahn said. “This is what the public sees — from the trivia nights to Thanksgiving dinner to athletic events.”
The project, Hahn added, came together once all of the school’s committees had “one unified meeting,” involving athletics, marketing, parents, teachers, alumni and the parish. “This really was a group effort,” she said.
“As we’re hosting games,” Stevenson said, “we’re hearing lots of compliments from other schools, from anyone seeing it for the first time.”
Parents decided “we’re better than this,” Fisher said of the old gym. “So we said let’s put our money and energy into the place where we spend most of our time.”