School Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Gymnasium

“Crabtree Crazies” Have A Ball


Sydney Denney, Shae Woodard

Members of the Mighty Alma Student Section cheer on the basketball teams during the anniversary celebration of Crabtree Gymnasium Tuesday night.

Paw Print Staff

The Alma High School community came together Tuesday night to celebrate the anniversary of the school’s former gymnasium.

The Airedale and Airedalette basketball teams moved their games to the Crabtree Gym in order to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Varsity games are usually played in the Charles B. Dyer Arena which opened in 2007.  Junior high teams still utilize Crabtree for their games played throughout the year.

Both teams played Providence Academy, located in Rogers. The boys’ team won their contest 57 to 44, while the girls fell to the Lady Patriots 53 to 69.

Airedale Basketball Coach Stan Flenor said the team had not played in the Crabtree Gym for 10 years. Flenor said he has been coaching for 32 years at Alma High School and spent much of his career coaching teams in the old gym.

Flenor summed up the nostalgia of the experience after the game. “It felt just like when you go back to an old home … from when you’re a young child; those really good memories, those rooms and areas. It felt a lot like that … it was a real special feeling ….”

Dr. Mike McSpadden, Athletic Director, said approximately 800 fans attended the game.

“We had a great atmosphere for basketball. Our students, spirit teams and fans were loud and enthusiastic,” McSpadden said.

The MASS (Mighty Alma Student Section) was out in full force wearing shirts especially made for the occasion. The shirts featured the phrase “Crabtree Crazies” accompanied by a smiley face on neon tie-dyed background. Students wearing the T-shirts were admitted to the game for free.

In addition, players wore throwback jerseys and cheerleaders and dance team members wore throwback uniforms from previous basketball seasons.

Crabtree Gym is still utilized by Alma High School students. For example, social events like the high school prom and pep rallies are still held in the facility. The space also houses academic competitions such as history day and science fair each year.

Crabtree was not the school’s original gymnasium, according to Alma High School Principal Jerry Valentine, but took over as the school’s main facility and replaced a gym that was located to its west. Valentine said the old gym was torn down after Crabtree was put into use in 1967.