Lovelady community restores historic old gym

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LOVELADY, TX (KTRE)- For years, the historic Lovelady gym has had an uncertain future. Built in 1934, it holds many memories for generations of families. The old gym was neglected after the school relocated in the 1970s. The community has now rallied to save the gym.

It all started with retired dentist Marvin Russel who organized the project. Lovelady graduates and others joined the effort, and with the help of a 1,000 dollar grant from the Arthur Temple Foundation, the committee was able to move forward with the project.

The original school gym score board stirs vivid memories for former student and Lovelady Mayor Michael Broxson.

"We've had a few fights right here in this spot I'm standing in and we won a lot of basketball games and we lost a few," said Broxson.

He and others recall years ago, when the building's fate was grim.

"It was a maintenance headache for a lot of people," Broxson said. "They wanted to see it torn down completely."

Chairman of the restoration project Norma Jones was one of many who wouldn't let that happen.

"It was in too good of shape to tear it down and we wanted it to stay here as a landmark," said Jones.

So the Lovelady old gym restoration project began. The Eastham unit inmates were even in on the project, helping put in new concrete floors.

"There's no one that's come in here that did not go to school in this place that didn't think it was a good job," said Broxson.

There is now a stage, hosting performances by several well-known performers. It's also a place for weddings, funerals, the NRA, high school proms, and the list goes on.

"Just a place for all the ex students to remember," said Jones.

The old gym unfolds plenty of unique transformations. The kitchen was originally the Lovelady band hall.

There is still more work to be done, but at Tuesday evening's open house event, organizers celebrated the fact that this landmark is here to stay.

For now, all maintenance expenses are covered by fundraising, which brings this project more meaning in the Lovelady community.

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