Return to Headlines

Nostalgic Part of Benton History Gets New Life

Work is underway to breathe new life into a nostalgic part of history in the Town of Benton; the rehabilitation and restoration of the former Benton High Gym that opened in 1939 prior to World War II. 

Thousands of Benton High students played and competed in the gym for 40 years before a new school was built. The facility served as a community center for many years afterward, then as the Bossier Schools surplus warehouse for the last two decades. Now, the former gym is getting a major facelift and being repurposed as needed office space for employees that have been working in cramped and deteriorating buildings. 

“This restoration is exciting, especially given the timing,” said Bossier Schools Superintendent Jason Rowland. “Today we are commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day while also preserving history and breathing life back into that historic 85-year-old gym and making it an important part of Bossier Schools’ future.” 

Heavy machinery could be seen on the first day, breaking up crumbling concrete to make way for new parking and green space that will lead to the building. Interior construction is expected to begin the following week, where new electrical work and plumbing will be installed, surfaces will be cleaned and repainted and window frames and panes will be restored. 

Painstaking detail is being paid to keep unique aspects of the gym intact, including its open-concept and original architectural features. The Maintenance department has also lovingly restored the scoreboard clock, which will hang where it once did generations ago. It is a project that Maintenance Supervisor Stacy Roge describes as personally meaningful. 

“It’s not just restoring a box. We are restoring a building with meaning to the people here,” Roge said. 

Construction is anticipated to be complete in Fall 2024.