For 53 years, Midlothian’s beloved community gymnasium functioned as an arena for school and recreational basketball leagues and home to a variety of youth-centered sports activities and celebrations. The community’s first gymnasium, the “Old Gym” functioned for years as its only gymnasium. After falling into disrepair, the facility was closed in 2003.
Built from salvaged lumber from post-war military buildings in 1950, the “Old Gym” sits adjacent to the original JR Irvin Elementary School on Avenue H. Distinguished by its arched lamella roof style and high-gloss hardwood floor, the gym is an architectural and historical gem. The non-profit Midlothian Historic Gymnasium Project formed with the intent to return the facility to service for the benefit of the community.
In 2018, The Midlothian Historic Gymnasium Project received a limited purchase option from the Midlothian Independent School District in order to make way for restoring the facility to be used for community activities, adult and youth sports, special events, and group meetings. The facility is of value to the community not only because of its unique architecture and history, but also because it can add to the city’s limited inventory of affordable meeting and recreational space.
Repair needs have been assessed and the cost of restoring the facility to occupancy is estimated at approximately $325,000.
Cinderblock, drywall, and lumber might be used to construct a building, but sweat, memories, sacrifice and dreams is what brings a building to life. Building on a past rich in community values and historical significance, the Historic Midlothian Gymnasium Project board of directors has outlined a simple plan for the initial lay-out and low-cost use of the facility, which includes the following:
· Restore large multipurpose gymnasium space for use by youth and adult basketball and volleyball leagues and assembly for larger gatherings
· Construct several meeting rooms to accommodate groups of between 5 and 30 people.
· Construct an office for onsite manager to oversee rental and use of facility
· Restore kitchen to allow some meal preparation and serving.
Duke is the President of Computer Solutions, Inc. and has served on various Boards in the City, including the Midlothian ISD Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Midlothian Methodist Hospital.
Danny is a retired Executive Vice President from Citizens National Bank and has served on many Boards and Committees in Midlothian. Danny graduated from Midlothian High School in 1973.
Melissa Pegram is a Senior Shareholder & Director; Chair of Business and Commercial Law Section at Cowles & Thompson, P.C.and graduated from Midlothian High School in 1969.
Ted opened Howard Financial Services in 1985 and provided accounting, tax, and financial planning services for clients throughout the metroplex and continues to work as the Accountant for Southern Timber Sales in Arlington. He served on the P&Z Board and one term on the Midlothian City Council. Ted is President of the Midlothian Area Historical Society and a 1959 graduate of MISD.
Jenny is a local real estate agent that specializes in sales, investing and management. A grand daughter of Erdie and Margie Webb, whom were both community leaders of Midlothian and daughter of Linda and Tony Sanders; Jenny attributes her deep connection to Midlothian’s history and her dedication to honor the past while helping plan for the future to them all. Currently the vice president of Midlothian Downtown Business Association and involved in many other community boards/organizations. Jenny graduated from Midlothian High School in 1987.
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