Gym is a Boon for Arden Middle School and Community
At a recent pep rally at Arden Middle School, the entire campus of more 920 students came together to cheer each other on as both students and teachers danced, lip-synced to popular songs and competed in a variety of games. It’s one of several events throughout the year for students, parents, teachers and staff to come together and show off school pride.
Since opening in 2015, the gymnasium has provided many new opportunities for Arden Middle School and the community, including an expanded theater and arts programs and youth and recreational leagues. The multi-purpose facility was funded by San Juan Unified’s bond program, which with the November passage of Measure P has a capacity of $1.1 billion to go toward the district’s $2.4 billion facilities need.
The new facility replaced Arden Middle School’s aging gymnasium, which could only accommodate 450 people compared to the new facility’s capacity of more than 1,000 people simultaneously. The new facility also includes a lighting and sound system, indoor and outdoor stage and fully equipped kitchen.
Members of the community are also able to utilize the facility for events. Some of the organizations currently using the gym include the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, Arden Panther Wrestling and the California Basketball Association.
“The new gym has had such an impact on our students,” said Jeff Banks, principal of Arden Middle School. “With all of the additional space, students no longer have to be divided during lunch period or for an assembly.”
John Friedrich, a math teacher at Arden Middle School, said he has also noticed the effect the new facility has had on the student body.
“It has changed the culture of the school,” Friedrich said. “We had a school that was very much divided into pieces … and the school gym has allowed us to come together as one.”