Build­ing pride at East­side High

New EHS ath­letic fa­cil­ity pro­vides much needed space to stu­dents

The Covington News - - Sports - By Jenny Thompson

It’s been a long 14 years with­out a field house, but now ath­letes and coaches at East­side High School have a brand new ath­letic fa­cil­ity with state- of- the- art weight lift­ing equip­ment, plenty of of­fice space, locker rooms and large stor­age ar­eas.

East­side ad­min­is­tra­tors wel­comed stu­dents, par­ents, coaches, booster club mem­bers and teach­ers to the build­ing’s grand open- ing Fri­day evening.

Prin­ci­pal Robert Daria ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to ev­ery­one who helped raise the build­ing.

“ The best part about this for me is see­ing peo­ple come to­gether to do the right thing at the right time for the right rea­sons,” Daria said.

When head foot­ball coach Rick Hurst came to East­side a bit more than two years ago, he said the fa­cil­ity was merely a dream and also thanked ev­ery­one who made it come true. “ I don’t care if it was pick­ing up a paint brush, a mop or a broom,” Hurst said. “ Thank you so much.” Pre­vi­ously, the weight room was housed in the gym­na­sium fa­cil­ity, which ath­letes in ev­ery sport strug­gled to share.

Scott Hub­bard, vice pres­i­dent of the EHS booster club, said the al­most 6,000 square- foot fa­cil­ity nearly triples the size of old weight room and of­fice area.

As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal and Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Den­nis Rod­den­berry said the new field house frees up space in the gym­na­sium for sports ac­tu­ally played there. He ex­pects the old weight room to ac­com­mo­date an aer­o­bics room and a wrestling prac­tice space in the win­ter. Rod­den­berry said it has been a while since he coached, but the stu­dents’ ex­cite­ment for sports and the com­mu­nity’s big­heart­ed­ness reaf­firms his pas­sion for high school ath­let­ics year af­ter year.

“Above all this is a tes­ta­ment to your love and con­cern for th­ese kids,” Rod­den­berry said.

The build­ing is not just for foot­ball play­ers, ac­cord- ing to Hub­bard. The field house also in­cludes a girls’ locker room and show­ers, and ath­letes in any sport or stu­dents in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion classes can use the equip­ment. “ Some of the kids in the weight classes are not even ath­letes,” Hub­bard said. “ They just want to stay phys­i­cally fit or try out next year.” Hub­bard said the build­ing took two- and- a- half years of plan­ning and col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts on the part of the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

He said the sup­port of the

BOE as well as the do­na­tion of time, ma­te­ri­als and money from nu­mer­ous other par­ents, com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions cre­ated the fa­cil­ity. “ I had checks just show up — some were small and some were big,” Hub­bard said. He said he was sim­ply amazed at the out­pour­ing of gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity and par­ents, as well as from the stu­dents who will use the field house.

“ The kids even con­trib­uted to their own build­ing,” Hub­bard said, “ and I think that’s won­der­ful be­cause it gives them a sense of pride of own­er­ship know­ing they moved that block or helped out in some other way.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Among the iron: evening.

Guests min­gle among the weight equip­ment that lines the the East­side High School Ath­letic Field House at an open house event for the fa­cil­ity Fri­day

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Dream come true: East­side High School Head Foot­ball Coach Rick Hurst, right, gives a spe­cial thanks to all the peo­ple who made the Athtletic Field House on the school’s cam­pus pos­si­ble dur­ing an open house event that drew dozens of com­mu­nity mem­bers to the fa­cil­ity Fri­day evening.

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