Swimming pools are easy to find at most high schools. Just walk around outside and eventually you'll see a nice big spot where the ground was dug and a pool was built.
At two American high schools, you won't find the pool outside — or above ground.
It's an example of how some athletic venues don't fit the stereotypical standard of where a pool should be built. There are also baseball fields with additional obstacles in the field of play, indoor football and soccer fields and a basketball gym that fits nearly 10,000 people.
MaxPreps takes a look at some of the unique high school sports venues in the nation, knowing that these are not so much the Top 10, just 10 selections. There are undoubtedly more places that could make the cut.
MAXPREPS' 10 UNIQUE HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS VENUES
1. Swim Gym — Beverly Hills, Calif.
Way back in 1946, the iconic film "It's a Wonderful Life" showed America what is perhaps still the most unique spot where high school sports are contested. Mickey, played by Mark Roberts, tells Freddie Othello, played by Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer: "What's the matter, Othello? Jealous? Did you know there's a swimming
pool under this floor? And did you know that button behind you causes
this floor to open up? And did you further know that George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is
dancing right over that crack?
I've got the key!"
The turn of a key and the press of a button makes the Beverly Hills (Calif.)
basketball floor spread from the center, revealing a swimming pool underneath. The combination of the two give the Normans' little arena the "Swim Gym" name.
"Basically there are two, large motors on each side of the gym that do
all of the dirty work, with guide tracks for the floor to roll on. It
is all controlled by turning a key at a control panel located at about
midcourt," BHHS swimming and water polo coach Rob Bowie said in an email. "I happen to be one of the very few people entrusted with the
opening and closing of the court. Over the years pool ladders, mops,
trash cans, basketballs, volleyballs, water polo balls and numerous
other objects have fallen victim to the undeniable, trash-compactor like
force of the Swim Gym floor."
Many facilities can be described as multi-use, but takes a rare approach by combining a pool and gym floor. It was constructed in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration and is still standing, though Bowie said there are a couple shortcomings. The swimming pool features seven lanes, instead of the customary eight,
because that's how many lanes fit under a basketball court. And the pool
has a shallow end, so Beverly Hills can't host water polo playoff
matches at the Swim Gym.
Last year, a flood from a bathroom warped the basketball floor as it sat under bleachers, and a motor gave out. The floor just hasn't been the same after the flood even though it was replaced and maintenance staff found out they couldn't replace the motor because of its age.
"When things like this happen it leaves us without
not only a basketball court, but also a swimming pool," Bowie said. "While the Swim Gym is indeed a unique facility with lots of charm and
character, no doubt worthy of the historic building distinction, I think
it is safe to say that it has outlived its usefulness." Continue reading