SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay District School Board decided on April 28 to demolish the old Rutherford gym.
The gym was built in the mid-60s and was a central part of the Rutherford campus, but it sustained serious damage during Hurricane Michael.
“There’s gonna be a lot of sad folks in the Rutherford family because there was a lot of memories in that gym,” Rutherford Principal Coy Pilson said.
The old Rutherford gym is officially named the Ernest Spiva Ram House, but also goes by a few nicknames. One of the most common ones is “The Hot Box” because the gym has no air conditioning.
Rutherford head basketball coach Rhondie Ross, who coached in the old gym for the first six years at the school, said it was great for conditioning his players.
“You just have a whole bunch of water in there, you turn the fans on, it was dimly lit cause the lighting wasn’t the best, and you have a whole bunch of towels so you can wipe up sweat off the floor,” Ross said.
Even though it was hot in there, many former Rams actually enjoyed conditioning in the old gym. Class of 2008 alum David Hate said summer workouts with the football team in the gym were some of his favorite memories from high school.
“I remember the big fans roaring, you would hear those fans going, but you wouldn’t feel nothing so,” Hate said.
The community also loved the old Ram House as they used to pack it out for games. The atmosphere was unlike any other.
“The fans would literally be on top of you, they could hear everything you say in a timeout, they could see what plays you draw up,” Ross said. “When we packed it out, you had people standing by the walls, it was just a great environment.”
“As a matter of fact, I remember one of my players, Khalil Spearman, he graduated, I think, in 2014,” Ross said. “He always used to ask me, ‘Coach, can we play one game in the old gym? We love the new gym, but it’s nothing like the environment in the old Ram House.”
Even though the gym will be gone, it’s legacy will live on in Rutherford history forever.
“That place just screams Ram Pride. The accolades on the wall, it’s history,” Hate said. “It was a history pillar in that school.”