Seneca High School unveils new gym, announces new tournament

28,000-square-foot facility will host Shipyard Showdown on Dec. 26-28

The new Seneca gym was unveiled Wednesday evening. It was announced there will be no admission fee for school events and games.

SENECA – After many years of planning, breaking ground in March of 2023, then 13 months of construction, Seneca High School unveiled its new 28,000-square-foot gymnasium to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday night.

The gym will seat 2,813, and with the bleachers retracted will have three regulation-size basketball courts, as well a two-lane, 60-meter track. It also features multiple scoreboards, including what is believed to be the largest video board in any high school in Illinois.

The Seneca High School cheerleaders perform during the open house for the new gymnasium. The gym boasts the largest high school video board in Illinois.

The first event to be held in the new facility will be Friday when former Major League Baseball player and Chicago White Sox radio color commentator and now inspirational speaker Chris Singleton will talk to students about the importance of family and togetherness.

The 2024 Seneca High School graduation also will be in the new gym.

The ribbon was cut Seneca School Board member, school officials and contractors Wednesday evening. After 13 months the new gymnasium was open to see.

Stecken also announced the gym will host the first Seneca Christmas boys basketball tournament – the Shipyard Showdown – on Dec. 26-28. The 16-team tournament was the Marseilles Holiday Tournament for 10 years and the Marquette Christmas Tournament the past two years.

The tournament name is in homage to the Prairie Shipyard in Seneca, one of eight locations chosen during World War II to build the Landing Ship, Tank.

LSTs had a unique design, where the bow of the ship had two large doors that swung open and a flat platform that came down for the unloading of tanks, jeeps, trucks and troops. It allowed the ships to pull close enough to shore that there was no need to dock. The shipyard constructed 157 LSTs that were used all over the world, including during the D-Day landing in Normandy, France, and on the beaches in the South Pacific.

Shipyard Showdown logo
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