Refurbishing the Bayfield High School gym has caused controversy among some BHS alumni.
The collection of old banners, some listing competitors on state champion teams, were removed and have been replaced by new ones that list all school activities, along with the years of their state, regional and league championships.
A committee of three parents and four staff members and coaches discussed the issue this spring and made the recommendation to the superintendent and school board.
The old banners were removed, the walls repainted white after 18 years of wear, and new banners were hung in late August when school started.
"We want people to say, 'This is a nice gym.' It's a showpiece for the district," said Rob Dean, the school's director of activities and facilities.
The issues with the old banners, Dean said, is they didn't list the teams that won honors prior to the 1960s, and they also didn't have every sport and activity listed, such as girls soccer, which won league titles, and Knowledge Bowl, which won a state championship in 2011.
The committee considered moving the banners to the new practice gym, but decided not to recommend that, Dean said.
The old banners are being photographed and archived, and a thumb drive will be sold for a small fee, Dean said. The old banners will be auctioned, with proceeds to be spent on more improvements in the gym. The floor needs to be repainted and refinished, Dean pointed out. The paint job cost $18,000, and new banners cost $4,500. They can be updated with new dates as teams
Dean and Principal Leon Hanhardt said they haven't received any calls about the topic, and comments about the new changes at volleyball and football games have been mostly in favor of the new banners.
All but one of the comments on the Times' facebook page this week, primarily from BHS alumni, opposed the change.
"I can remember being very young and looking at the 1969 Basketball Championship banner at every home basketball game and knowing many of the names listed on the banner," wrote Kennie Monger, a BHS alum. "I wanted to be one of them and worked hard with that motivation."
Wrote Danita Phelps: "That was a part of history for the school. The old banners should have stayed."
Added Lucia Schirard: "I think it is disgraceful! The kids and their successes and achievements should be displayed for all to see."
James Spishock wrote: "Those banners were a source of pride in my town growing up and served as motivation to me as an athlete."
One alum said she wasn't concerned about the change.
"I had a part in earning some of those old banners, and I was proud of them, but I am not particularly disturbed that they have been replaced," said Melissa Lott Laffen. "I'm interested in how the current students feel about the new banners...It's nice to see some space cleared for new accomplishments!"
Several people commenting said they would like to see the old banners continue to be displayed somewhere in the school, perhaps in a display case or the practice gym, or be hung back up in the main gym.