KW classes adapt to new areas

Gates gym construction causes issues with KW classes’ use of facilities


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As construction on the Gates gym and nearby facilities continue, KW classes run elsewhere

The $75 million construction of the new Gates gym has forced a big adjustment to Kinetic Wellness (KW) classes. Less space for classes and closed locker rooms have caused teachers and students alike to become creative in how their classes function.

We’re kind of adjusting to a smaller area and trying to use equipment maybe a little differently and being creative in how we can utilize that space in the right way.

— Brian Doll

One of the ways the KW department has attempted to work through this is by rotating class activities. Activity-based classes––KW2, Lifetime Activities, and Team Block––have rotated through three different activities in gyms, doing each activity through the period. Core classes rotate so they can use the same space throughout the period.

This rotation was a solution for teachers to get creative with the space accessible and the longer periods. Since New Trier now runs on a block schedule, eighty-five-minute periods are the new norm, which has left teachers with more time to use during the period.

Pete Drevline, a KW teacher, talked about how the daily periods tend to work. 

“They’ll get into a main activity, which would be volleyball or eclipse ball, and then rotate into the fitness center, which could be cardiovascular equipment, and then finally we get to do baggo or spikeball.”

The new schedule has been an adjustment to all. KW teacher and coach Brain Doll talked about adapting to the new space.

“We’re kind of adjusting to a smaller area and trying to use equipment maybe a little differently and being creative in how we can utilize that space in the right way.”

The Gates gym, built in 1928, was approved for reconstruction after updates to other parts of the school exposed the same need for the gym. It is due to be finished in August of 2023. While great for hosting sports games, the gym’s layout is limiting. For example, the fieldhouse underneath the gym cannot host larger groups for activities with limited areas and large concrete pillars.

The construction has not affected all KW classes negatively, as Doll and Drevline, Strength and Conditioning teachers, explained. The new facilities for the class, located where the wrestling room used to be, is a massive upgrade from the old area in the fieldhouse. Drevline says the new facility is “one of the top-notch facilities in all of [the] high schools that I’ve seen.”

Another big concern from the construction is that students can no longer access locker rooms. About 150 “day lockers” were moved to the lower level to remedy this, giving students an optional changing area.

Some change into gym clothes, while others don’t. “We have some more kids in jeans and non-traditional KW attire during class, but our main thing is to keep them active,” Drevline said.

KW teacher Stephanie Nykaza said the transition has been difficult, but manageable.  “We always kind of have to adjust to moving spaces. If it’s raining outside, we have to adjust and move in.” 

Andy Butler, KW Department Chair, said that though the transition has been difficult, it will bring benefits. Compared to the old Gates gym, the new space will allow for more activities and opportunities.

“We’re going to be able to offer experiences and curriculum that are going to be better for kids in the future than we’ve ever had before.”