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CHS gym has unique court
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Members of the Ceres High boys and girls basketball programs practiced for the first time on Nov. 15 at newly renovated Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Coaches and players raved about the finished product.

“I doubt there's one in the state like this,” said Phil de la Porte, Ceres High athletic director and assistant varsity girls basketball coach, referring to the gym's unique basketball floor.

“When I walked in, I was like, ‘Wow,'” said varsity girls player Jennifer Arnold. “It's really cool. It looks like a college court.”

“I'm looking forward to playing on a new court,” said varsity boys player Brett Sayad. “I think more fans are going to come see us.”

“It's the best looking gym floor in the Valley,” said varsity girls head coach Shawna Nunes. “It's awesome. It's unreal.”

The gym's oak floor was refinished by Pro Sports Courts of Salt Lake City, Utah, and remarked by Boss Graphics of Montrose, Calif. A water-based finish was used instead of an oil-based one, which will help prevent discoloring. The floor features a pair of large red Bulldog logos inside each of the 3-point arcs with the word “Ceres” spelled out in white cursive letters at midcourt.

“I'm sure other teams are going to complain,” Arnold said. “It takes a while to get used to.”

Said Ceres Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Scott Siegel: “The product is outstanding. It was a combined effort between an architect, two companies and site staff.”

The district modeled Ceres High's basketball court after Boise State University's court, which has orange and blue Broncos at both ends. Brian de la Porte, assistant varsity boys basketball coach, came up with the idea.

“He was watching a game on TV and said, ‘Dad, come look at this,'” Phil said.

Bringing the gymnasium into compliance involved installing fewer seats (706 instead of 1,062). The bleachers are new and meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and fire safety requirements. The old bleachers had nine rows of seating.

“We lost two rows all together,” Siegel said.

District officials are considering building a gym with greater seating capacity at Ceres High School.

“We've had some preliminary discussions with staff,” Siegel said. “We'd have to find space and money for it. It's going to be a seven-digit number.”

Added CUSD Supt. Walt Hanline: “It needs to become a priority in our district and community.”

Phil de la Porte said he'd miss coaching in the old-school gymnasium.

“The atmosphere is phenomenal when you pack it,” he said.

The Ceres High gymnasium dedication ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier