A Gladiator Pit
Calling a gym “a pit” sounds like it would be a bad thing, but for Argo and a few similar gyms it offers a unique way to watch and play a basketball game.
Built in 1953, the Swanson gym was named after the Board of Education president at the time Herbert C. Swanson. It was designed by Burnham and Hammond, a firm who also designed the gym at Thornton Township High School in Harvey. Unlike Thornton’s U-shaped gym, Argo has seating seating completely around the court, and now court level bleachers.
The gym has seen some updates since 1953, though the majority of the look and feel remain. A center court scoreboard was replaced as volleyball programs were incorporated into the school’s athletics. Retractable bleachers ran the length of the court and tucked away under the permanent cement balcony seating. They have since been removed and the space under the balcony on the east side was converted into a girls locker-room (remember this facility was built 20-years before Title IX) and the space on the west side is used for equipment storage. Along the south baseline is a modern athletic trainers’ room.
Not A Bad Seat In The House
One of the drawbacks of some of the larger capacity gyms prior to the 1950s was beams for supporting the roof often lead to multiple poor sight lines. Argo’s roof is completely suspended with its beam system horizontal to the court.
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