North Laurel High School volleyball and basketball fans are in for a treat once the respective seasons begin after the school’s famed “The Jungle” continues to receive a facelift this summer.
The North Laurel High School gymnasium’s floor is garnering a new paint job along with new padding for the upcoming sports season.
“About every seven years, we get a total gym transformation as far as the court goes,” North Laurel athletic director Jimmy Durham said. “We get it sanded down multiple layers, and then basically we start over with a blank canvas.”
Durham admitted coming up with a new idea wasn’t an overnight process.
“I came up with most of the design,” he admitted. “I was trying to think back with what we had done, and not done, in the past. I’d seen some really nice designs out there, especially some nice college floors, so we wanted to incorporate the two-tone floor with the light hardwood and the dark hardwood.
“We are working with Les Hedrick, and he enjoys doing new things, and he thought that it would look good,” he added. “So we came up with what we wanted exactly, and this is basically the finished product. We worked with him, and came up with the designs we wanted, and it’s worked out really good so far. I think once we get the sealing done, it will really look nice. I think we’ll have the most unique court in this area.”
Durham decided to come up with some new ideas while consulting with his coaches, to bring back some things he incorporated on the gym floor in the past — an updated version of checkerboard at both ends of the floor.
“The checkerboard was Coach (Eddie) Mahan’s idea. I like to have the coaches’ input, too,” Durham said. “He has always been fond of the UT (University of Tennessee) checkerboards, so we decided to come in and lay things out, and we went that route as well. At one time, we had checkerboards on the court, but they were all Kelly green, and there were no blue in it other than the volleyball lines, and those were huge checkerboards we had back then.
“So I was thinking if we were going to do checkerboards again, let’s make them small, multiply them, which I think there are 150 on each end zone, and let’s do one end Kelly green, and another end royal blue,” he added. “Regardless what people say, we initially thought about doing an entirely royal blue border around the entire court, and then blue checkerboards at both ends. But you’ve also got to take in the Hazel Green (high school) history along with the Bush (high school) history. So we wanted a good balance of both blue and green, and went with the checkerboards blue and green and each side of the courts blue and green, too.”
Durham said is happy with the way things have turned out so far with the project.
“I’m very pleased with the way everything went. I think it looks great,” he said. “We also took out the basketballs at the top of the keys, so we figured we’d make a stained basketball in the center of the court with our Jaguar logo, and I really think everything turned out great.”
“I really liked our old crest at mid-court, but as time went on, it just looked huge. I wasn’t fond of the writing or font above the Jaguar head, so we wanted to go back to an old-style look. I think we’ve just got a sharper, cleaner look now. We’re going have other changes, too. We’re going to have new pads, and things like that. This tour design will stay at least seven years, and we’ll do it again.”