POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Most places with dungeons aren’t worried about the appearance.
Point Pleasant, however, is not one of those believers.
The Point Pleasant varsity boys basketball program recently completed its floor renovations and also announced that there are more improvements on the way for ‘The Dungeon’ — the unofficial name of the gymnasium that the Big Blacks call home.
With the assistance of the PPHS basketball boosters, local business supporters and a generous donation by Ohio Valley Bank, the boys basketball gymnasium was able to undergo a five-digit makeover — one that at the moment is most noticeable by the paint scheme of the new floor.
The gymnasium’s refurbished hardwood features a lighter-toned playing surface over most of the court, which also includes the key on both ends of the floor.
The areas between the key and three-point lines, however, have a darker stain — one that makes it easier to locate the three-point area for players, fans and officials alike.
The mid-court logo is also the word ‘Point’ written in a cursive font, chosen primarily because the standard knight-head logo just seems to be everywhere within the school.
The baselines and sidelines are red with black trim, with the words ‘The Dungeon’ located in the middle of each baseline.
The new look — as PPHS boys basketball coach Josh Williams explained — is an attempt to establish a uniqueness while trying to recapture an old identity.
“We as a staff talked in the offseason about what we could do to make improvements to our program. We knew we needed to build some enthusiasm as we headed back into double-A and that we had to improve the appeal of our program,” Williams said. “We decided that the best way to do both was to improve our facilities, and the new appearance of the floor is certainly a start in that direction. We have other plans for upgrades in the works, but this is a big start in the right direction for where we want to get.”
Ohio Valley Bank — which has been one of the biggest supporters of Point Pleasant athletics over the last several years — once again spear-headed the financial support on this newest project. In all, OVB was accountable for about a third of the total cost of the project.
OVB Loan Officer Freida Greathouse was on hand for a private viewing of the recently completed project. And as she noted, it was a proud moment — both personally and professionally — to see the transformations of ‘The Dungeon.’
“On behalf of Ohio Valley Bank, I’m honored to have been a part of this project and see how it has turned out,” Greathouse said. “Ohio Valley Bank has also been about community first and we feel that this project is only going to continue to be a benefit to Mason County.”
Ohio Valley Bank was not the only local patron to contribute to this project, but their donation was sizable enough as to where the basketball program found it fitting to include the OVB logo on the court.
A.J. Hardwoods — the company that performed the floor renovations — is also located on the bleacher-side sideline corners as a token of appreciation for the satisfactory work.
Williams also noted that projects are still being completed within the boys basketball gymnasium, which includes a new — and significantly closer — locker room area that the Big Blacks can call home.
Besides the locker room area, there will also be a lounge area, big screens for game-tape review and other amenities that will give the kids more of a home-court advantage type feeling.
Williams also noted that the school is trying to figure a way to add additional seats — perhaps stadium seats — behind the bleachers. The hope is to get the seat capacity to 1,000, which would allow the Big Blacks to host a regional tournament game if they were in that scenario.
Those projects, along with future upgrades of wall padding and the installation of new backboards and rims on all fixtures, shows that Point Pleasant is once again focused being the best it can be on the basketball court.
“It was only four years ago that we made back-to-back appearances in the state tournament, but the move triple-A did hurt a little of the momentum we had moving forward,” Williams said. “Now that we are headed back down to double-A, we really want to build that momentum back up and make this program what it was not long ago.
“We feel that we can start to get our identity back as a basketball school this year, so we are hoping a new look and some major upgrades will help get this process started. I think the kids are going to like the new additions and I think the community is going to like the new additions, so hopefully these additions will help us move a little closer to our ultimate goal — which is making Point Pleasant a respected program in the state.”
There is one other major addition to the boys basketball gymnasium, but it is also an addition that has been made in all of the high school gymnasium in Mason County.
New lights — a brighter system that uses less energy — have been installed in both PPJSHS gymnasiums this summer, as well as in the gymnasiums at Wahama and Hannan high schools as part of funding received for upgrades within the Mason County School system.
New lighting has also been installed in the hallways and classrooms of most of the older buildings in the county.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.