In a throwback to the days when gyms had running tracks above their gym floors, Ridgewood has also incorporated a cardio section, right, and weightlifting area, far side.

LEED Certified and just over a decade old, Ridgewood’s gym shows you don’t have to be old to be a top high school gym.

Flying under the radar of most coaches, fans, and those of us in sports media, Ridgewood’s gym has barely seen 10 years of action, but as it continues to host sectionals and tournaments, it’s building its reputation. Leyend and Maine East play during the RIdgewood Thanksgiving Tournamant.

Ridgewood High School, founded in 1960, hasn’t even been around as a school as long as half the gyms that are being considered for the Best Illinois High School Gyms book, but it will undoubtedly be among the top 100 active gyms. Built it 2010 the gym is a new addition to the school and has separated itself from the trend of stale-rectangle boxes that are dropped onto so many schools over the past 40 years.

The gym is more of the center-piece of an athletic center, than just a large room with lots a of space for multiple uses. Built with a running track above the gym floor, something you find a lot in gyms from the turn of the last century, the entire upper floor acts as much like an accent point to the main court as it does a training facility. The high ceiling has several skylights, with remotely activated shades, to let natural light in. The upper floor has a cardio area with stationary bikes and a weight training area off to the north of the track.

Chicago Tribune’s highlight on the Ridgewood Sumer Shootout.

Details in the lighting fixtures of the gym show more thought was put into the looks of this facility and not just the function.
Not just functional, but environmentally friendly, the Ridgewood Athletic Center is LEED Certified.

Being a smaller 3A school with only one sectional title to its name though, Ridgewood may take some more time to be billed as one of the better gyms in the state, but I’d be willing to bet you won’t need to share a link to this page in ten more years to make sure more coaches and fans know about this gym.

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Illinois’ Best High School Gyms updates (pick one)