House of Hoops: Unique home helping McRoberts family share love of basketball

The old middle school building in Melrose is being used these days for something truly unique.

The McRoberts family in Melrose has turned a community relic–into a home.

“All the hangers and everything, hang up all my kids’ coats.”

For a family that numbers in the double digits,

“The little kids’ clothes are all through here, all labeled.”

Converting a school takes some creativity.

“Most of the kids’ bedroom.”

And for dad Jason McRoberts, it also took convincing his wife.

“It was really hard to talk her into this one,” he said with a smile. “I basically had to draw it up for her, exactly how everything would see and how everyone would be in each area.”

The building has bits and pieces from different decades, 1990s, 80s, most of it from the 50s–so moving right in was impossible.

“We had so many headaches with getting permits and everything inspected.”

“It was hard–couldn’t even get a conventional loan, so we had to go into a little bit of retirement here and there and other places to get some money to get all this done, but the great thing is in two years we’re going to be all paid off.”

Now the kids loved it, for one very large reason.

“They just brought up the gym and everyone liked it. That’s all we really wanted–a gym in our house,” Melrose-Mindoro senior Tristan McRoberts said.

From the parents on down, the McRoberts family is full of basketball lovers.

Said Jason, “My wife and I have a sign in our room that says, ‘This marriage is on hold for basketball season.'”

“Every weekend we’re in here during the season. During the summer we’re in here every day all day pretty much.”

And for Jason–who coaches the eldest sons at Mel-Min and played throughout childhood himself–it’s what the gym provides for his family that made all those past headaches worthwhile.

“It all came back to when I was a kid, I used to sneak into the gym all the time at 6 in the morning, go and shoot, pay the janitors off with donuts and coffee. I always wanted to shoot all the time, so this way I give the kids the option to shoot anytime they want or come down here and throw a ball.”

“Thinking outside the box, looking at different buildings that could fit us and be able to move in. Classrooms make a great bedroom.”