DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Monday, October 27, 2014

XCP Activity Center is all decked out and ready to go

No matter which direction you look, the Activity Center is one of the crown jewels of Xavier College Prep’s campus community.
There still is a bit of work to be done, but for the most part, the two-phased project to spruce up and add on to the facility has been completed.
XCP students got a look at a recent look while attending an assembly that included a history presentation going back to 1943, including photos of the campus buildings being built along the way.
The Activity Center played host to Xavier’s final regular-season home volleyball match on Oct. 21 and should draw good reviews when XCP hosts the Division I state badminton team tournament that begins on Monday (Oct. 27) and continues on Wednesday (Oct. 29) and Thursday (Oct. 30).
Some of the boards on the gymnasium floor were repaired and the walls got a new coat of white paint. On one side there is, “Xavier College Prep – Est. 1943.’’ On the other is a modernized version of the school’s “Ali Gator’’ logo, with the words, “Home of the Gators.’’ The logo also is painted at center court. And there are new wall pads with the new logo.

The South wall with the 2014 version of the "Ali'' Gator logo.
The North wall, with the Xavier crest.

Also on the floor is a subtle outline of the XCP’s campus, painted in gray, including the bell tower. That was an interesting addition suggested by Sr. Lynn Winsor, XCP Director of Athletics and Activities.
“That’s another thing for people to talk about. It’s kind of neat,’’ Winsor said.
She was the driving force behind the project, which has been funded by donors.
The ceiling of the old entryway has been raised two feet for a more open feel.
On each side are blue-tinted photo panels showing each of the school’s sports.

Sr. Lynn Winsor in front of the panel that salutes her championship golf program.

Xavier also has had some outstanding tennis teams and players over the years.

 The front of the lobby was extended 30 feet to the west, and will feature the Tonn Family Hall of Fame Foyer that has a huge nine-screen video board on the north side that will be the home of the school’s Hall of Fame. The development of that is a work in progress with a target date of the Hall’s unveiling in early 2016, according to Winsor. The Hall of Fame likely will include achievements in academics and public service.
There also will be more video/TV monitors in the lobby, and those will eventually feature live action shots of current athletes.
The front end of the building now has two floors, the main and a second floor (reachable by stairs or elevator) that features spacious rooms for dance, zoga, spinning and other fitness activities, along with a coaches’ office. A few of the rooms have windows with a view of the main floor below.

A presentation on the large video board will be a prominent element of the XCP Hall of Fame.

The window in one of the second-floor workout areas offers a good view of the gym floor.

 Some of the physical education classes will be held in the new rooms, as well as classes for students, staff and parents.
The zoga classes’ name is a play on words relating into the pronunciation of the school’s name.
 “You know, “Zzzzavier, Zzzzoga,’ ’’ Winsor explained.
The view of everything is brighter, with new LED lights for the center and next-door Vestar Hall.
And the gym area has become cooler, with new-fangled “duct socks’’ over the air ducts that allow the air to be distributed more evenly.
There also are plans for placement of a donated large 5-foot-long bronze gator outside the gym on a raised concrete pedestal near the entrance.
And don’t forget upgraded concession and locker areas.
“We’re excited about this facility, and everybody is responding well to the new things we have here,’’ Winsor said.
This project follows the addition of Petznick Field a few years ago on the south side of campus, home of the softball, soccer and lacrosse teams.

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