Because of growing district athletic programs, part of the 2016 bond funds will provide a larger field house at each high school campus to enhance productivity and player competitiveness. Construction on the west side of the practice football field will continue throughout the 2018-19 school year to reach this goal.
“Our weight room and locker room spaces (in the current field house) are really small compared to most 6A programs, even most 3A programs,” assistant varsity football coach Matt Walker said. “It’ll allow us to better utilize our time. Right now, we use a lot of different spaces (for practice) and we have to move between those spaces, so I think we’ll be able to get more done and be more efficient.”
Walker said weight room training is essential for team practices. There are 250-300 players, and the current space available is not designed to support that many people.
“(The weight room) does everything for us,” he said. “We watch film in there, we lift, we do auxiliary stations in there, we stretch. We also have to do a lot in the hallway and on the field, but most everything is based out of the weight room. It’s a pretty big deal for what we do.”
Assistant Principal and building administrator Mike Vopal said the new field house will positively affect the school because the school has such a large football team.
“There is only a limited amount of space in the old field house, so they will be able to have more stations set up in the new building,” he said. “The guys will be able to get in there and they won’t be wasting time waiting around to get on a machine or use particular weights. I think it will be good for all the teams who use the facilities.”
Although the football team will have the most benefit from the new building, other athletic programs of the school including baseball, basketball, soccer and track will also use the facility.
“All the programs go in there (currently), but it is a pretty small room for that many athletes,” Walker said. “Eventually, they will add on the indoor facility and it will be useful for other teams in the winter when it’s cold or rainy. If they can get indoors for a little practice, I think that will help tremendously.”
Presently, coaches are meeting in small spaces, but Walker said they are looking forward to having offices in the building.
“In terms of meeting space, there will be more offices,” he said. “Right now, we meet in rooms-almost closets-as groups, and so having a true meeting room will be great to allow us to communicate with our players.”
The new training room will be three times the size of the current field house training room. This will alleviate overcrowding and give the trainers a larger taping, rehab, treatment and hydrotherapy area.
“The design will allow us to treat and tape athletes more efficiently, getting them to practices on time,” district Athletic Trainer Andy Starnes said. “We will also have room to do most of our post-surgical rehabs in the training room, giving us the opportunity to work directly with the athlete.”
The first-floor portion of the project is set to be completed and open for use by August 2019, while the second-floor construction will continue beyond. Sophomore JV football player Gavin Brzozowski said he looks forward to using it in the future.
“I’m excited for the new field house and how it will impact the team,” he said. “I think everyone will greatly benefit from this.”
Because there are five high schools in the district, such a large project is costly, but the bond will allow for schools to get ahead of the times and on an even field with other 5A and 6A programs.
“We want to be able to use those taxpayer dollars in a way that benefits all the programs,” Walker said. “We are excited about the new field house, whenever it goes up. Until then, we are just going to work hard and not make excuses.”