Re­turn of the Wolver­ines

Closed since 1970, the Wolver­ines' old gym is back in the game

The Covington News - - Front page - Brit­tany Thomas/The Cov­ing­ton News

The Cousins Com­mu­nity Cen­ter Gym opened Wed­nes­day, with a cer­e­mony that in­cluded many no­table fig­ures in Newton County, as well as mem­bers of the last grad­u­at­ing class of Cousins High School. For the full story on the oc­ca­sion, see

Josh Briggs

It’s been 41 years since the last bas­ket­ball game at R.L. Cousins High School. Thanks to the Newton County Recre­ation Com­mis­sion, the At­lanta Fal­cons Youth Foun­da­tion and com­mu­nity lead­ers from through­out Newton County, the gym is back open for play.

Recre­ation Com­mis­sion di­rec­tor Tommy Hai­ley em­ceed the ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day and sev­eral R.L. Cousins alumni were on hand for the rib­bon cut­ting event on the freshly ren­o­vated Wolverine Gym. The gym is the sec­ond ma­jor rehabilitation of a sports fa­cil­ity on the grounds of the old R.L. Cousins High School.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate all the com­mis­sion­ers and peo­ple who were in­volved in this project and we thank ev­ery­body for their sup­port,” Newton County Recre­ation Johnny Pres­ley said.

R.L. Cousins shut its doors af­ter 13 years of op­er­a­tion as a black high school. Newton County schools in­te­grated in 1971 and ev­ery­one went to what is now Newton High.

Sev­eral alumni who have re­mained close to the county and be­come com­mu­nity lead­ers were in at­ten­dance in­clud­ing For­rest Sawyer, Flem­mie Pitts, J.C. Hen­der­son and Janet Good­man.

Also on hand were mem­bers of the 1965 R.L. Cousins cham­pi­onship team. The cer­e­mony wrapped up with a group free throw by com­mu­nity lead­ers who were

in­stru­men­tal in the rehabilitation project.

“This is teamwork. This is what work­ing to­gether does,” Sawyer said. “We do that well here in Newton County and Cov­ing­ton and we want to keep up with our his­tory — with our past. In many other com­mu­ni­ties we see where an old black high school sits dor­mant. Not here in Newton County and Cov­ing­ton. We have a com­mu­nity that cares not only about its peo­ple, but its his­tory.”

The project in­cluded new fix­tures and toi­lets in the bath­rooms, back­boards and rims, and a new floor adorned with At­lanta Fal­cons Youth Foun­da­tion and Recre­ation Com­mis­sion lo­gos and the orig­i­nal Wolverine logo. In ad­di­tion to the re­ha­bil­i­tated floor and bath­rooms, two of­fices were added and the old shower/locker room was gut­ted and re­placed with a large stor­age area which the recre­ation depart­ment will use to store foot­ball gear.

The gym will be used for men's church league play through the Recre­ation Com­mis­sion and depend­ing on staffing, is slated to be open to the pub­lic for open gym play much the way Turner Lake com­plex is.

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