Published April 20, 2018

Putnam City HS expansion unveils hidden treasures

Renovating Putnam City High School’s original gymnasium will unveil a piece of history hidden for six decades.

Like many arenas built in the first half of the 20th century, Putnam City’s first gymnasium employed huge steel trusses to uphold its roof. Such lofty supports became fan favorites in most venues, ideal for hanging championship banners, fostering compelling shadows, and amplifying crowd cheers into thunderous pathos. But Putnam City's original contractors hid those rafters beneath a second ceiling when that school was finished in 1957, so the massive bowstring trusses never graced the public’s eye.

That will change as Flintco renovates and expands Putnam City’s original 600-seat gymnasium. Design plans by Sparks Reed Architecture and Interiors will remove the arena’s original court and concrete seating, which served just one sideline. Flintco also will remove the original lockers beneath these seats.

The Sparks Reed deign replaces these with a new basketball floor within an elevated bowl seating 600 fans. 

“We had to rotate the court 90 degrees to allow for that,” said Sparks Reed co-founder and principal David Reed.

New locker rooms, ticket booth, hospitality suite, broadcast platforms, and concessions stand promise expanded services in a facility meeting modern accessibility requirements. The lowered court will improve security for players and coaches. 

All of these amenities will shine beneath the gymnasium’s newly opened roofline.

"That will make it feel like an old-style fieldhouse," said Reed.

This project also includes a 10,000-square-foot addition providing a marquee entrance to not just the arena, but Putnam City's existing auditorium. That new gathering area will give this Warr Acres, OK, high school a safe room for up to 270 people and a new store offering the latest in PC school products

Brick veneer will dress this steel and concrete structure in the school’s orange and black color scheme.

“The lobby is designed strictly to replicate the original gymnasium roof structure,” Reed said. “I think they’re going to be pretty excited about it.”

That reflects what thrills Reed most about this year-long construction project, which should wrap by January 2019.

“It was a beautiful structure, and it’s never been seen before,” he said. “And it’s in excellent condition. It is going to be real exciting to see that brought out.”

Copyright © 2019 by Sparks Reed