Athletes enjoying the luxury of new fieldhouse

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports Editor 

With the first full school year starting since the construction of the Henry County Fieldhouse, the new building located behind the middle school is definitely getting used by the high school’s programs, HCHS Athletics Director Todd Gilley said in a recent phone interview.

The teams are currently breaking in the fieldhouse, which was finished in January and cost roughly $950,000 to build. After the outside was completed last winter, the school still needed $75,000 in donations to fill the open space. Now, with spring sports starting during the next few weeks, the school is about $20,000 shy of reaching its goal.

“We’ve done a lot to it, but we’re still trying to do more,” Gilley said. “We wanted to do it right, and we have little things that still need to be added so we’re taking more donations. So far, we’ve collected about $55,000 of the $75,000.”

The fieldhouse replaces an old weight room that was full of out-dated equipment in a cramped building, which was located on the other side of the bus compound. With the new addition, which was not part of the high school’s renovation, athletes can enjoy a 60 x 80-foot open space with an indoor turf football field previously used by the Tennessee Titans of the NFL, batting nets, new weight equipment, two locker rooms with lockers already intact, bathrooms and a coach’s office. Also, HCHS is still scheduled to hire a full-time trainer through Baptist Northeast that will benefit all of the teams.

For a school with 671 students, it’s an improvement that should benefit student-athletes for generations.

“It’s not perfect yet, but it will be,” Gilley said of the new complex. “We have it up and running though, and it’s definitely being utilized.”

Last spring, the baseball and softball teams got use out the fieldhouse — especially when the weather forced the players indoor to the batting nets and open space. Currently, the football team is enjoying the luxury of having an infield facility, while other teams also are benefiting from the upgrade.

Visions were in place for a new fieldhouse during the 1980s — before Gilley arrived at HCHS. The athletic programs needed a safe place to lift weights and workout, people in the community thought more than two decades ago. With the help of Gilley, who was named the school’s athletics director in 2002 and stepped back into the head coach of the girls’ basketball team in 2005, that vision became complete seven months ago.

To find out more information or contribute to the fieldhouse, contact one of the committee members: Lyndon Johnson at (502)396-8082, Mark Vaughn at (502)744-2560, Steve Williams at (502)639-4999, or Jon Kasten or Gilley at HCHS at (502)845-8670.

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.