The stone walls will return to City League basketball.
North athletic director Mike Church said the Redskins plan to bring back their throwback game in the traditional gym as soon as next season. The game was last played two years ago against Northwest.
“It’s really just a different atmosphere,” Church said.
The traditional gym is lined with stone walls about 10 feet high with Native American patterns on a white strip that wraps around the gym on the walls. Seating is above the walls with a capacity of about 2,000.
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Former North stars such as NFL great Barry Sanders have their jerseys retired with banners hanging from the ceiling, and memorabilia is outside the wooden doors that lead into the gym.
“I’m like a kid in this gym,” North boys basketball coach Gary Squires said. “I get fired up with the kids.”
North hosted the City League wrestling finals in the traditional gym Saturday. Church said adjustments need to be made, specifically with the scoreboard, before basketball could return. The board is still functional when necessary, but several bulbs would not light.
North has raised the money, and installation is the last step, Church said.
The annual game is selected randomly, Church said. The scheduling with other school-related events often dictates when it is played. When it is announced, Church said he often starts hearing from alumni.
“There’s some nostalgia in there for the players that have come through there,” he said. “Their fondest memories are of things in that traditional gym. There’s just nothing like it.”
North and East are Wichita’s two oldest high schools. East had a gym comparable to North’s traditional gym, but it was gutted in 2000 after a bond issue, East AD Kevin Hartley said in an email.
Church said the traditional gym at North isn’t going anywhere.
“We will never get rid of that one,” he said. “That gym is sacred ground. North is considered a historical site in Wichita, and the tower and the traditional gym are staples of North High.”