During a time when it seems everything related to outside and non-essential activity is at standstill, there is a major positive that sports fans at Evergreen High School can look forward to.
A $1.9 million dollar facelift, funded by the school district without any increase in taxes, that will add a variety of improvements, is still scheduled to begin after Memorial Day.
“We are adding a new female and male varsity locker room for athletics and renovating the existing male and female locker rooms to be used for Physical Education classes,” explained Evergreen Superintendent Eric Smola.
“We are also adding coaches offices (for female coaches and officials) and storage for athletic equipment. There will be a new team film room that will also be used as a classroom for PE classes.”
The largest addition will be the current weight training facility, which is used by all athletic teams, physical education classes, and has selected hours for community time.
“The weight room will be expanded by 1,833 square feet,” said Smola. “(This) allows for additional weight equipment, cardiovascular equipment such as stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals, and space for athletes in need of rehab from injury.”
Smola explained that the project will happen in two phases to be less disruptive to the everyday educational process, and the ability of teams to compete in season.
Construction is to begin the last week in May with the north addition, that is concerned mostly with the weight room expansion, along with some of the above-mentioned additions.
Expected completion of this phase is Dec. 23.
The south phase that would impact the area near the current girls locker room, will begin construction Jan. 4, 2021 and the expected completion date is July 16, 2021.
“There were reasons that motivated us in renovating and expanding these facilities,” expressed Smola. “First was the condition of the existing locker rooms which were badly in need of renovation. The need for equal facilities for our female and male student-athletes, and the ability to host OHSAA tournaments was another driving force.”
The high school gymnasium — affectionately called “The Big House” by Viking fans — seats over 2,300. However, with having four locker rooms, Evergreen now meets all qualifications for the ability to bid on OHSAA volleyball, wrestling, and both boys and girls basketball host sites during tournament time.
“The renovation and expansion will allow us to host OHSAA tournaments and highlight the great facilities we have to offer schools in northwest Ohio and generate income for our athletic department. These improvements will also provide our student-athletes with additional facilities to develop their minds and bodies.”
Current Viking athletic director Walt Steele echoed these comments.
“Anytime you can make some improvements to your facilities it renders a positive impact. I think if you look at what has happened to track, and the turf (on the football and soccer complex) and with the renovations on the baseball diamond, this stays consistent with our upgrades.
“Our locker rooms have always been a concern with space and capacity when we have a lot of teams practicing at the same time, especially during that transition period from fall to winter sports. We look to remedy that situation also with this improvement.”
As far as hosting OHSAA events, Steele also said the new-look facilities will be important.
“It will be good to be able to show our facilities to those in the northwest district and hosting those tournaments here will allow us to do that and I’m super excited about that.”
Smola also was thankful to the Evergreen Athletic Boosters, who will be purchasing added equipment for the weight training facility that will more than double in size with the expansion.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org