Central High opens new gymnasium

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Oct 31, 2013 - 9:11:44 AM

RIBBON CUTTINGSmiles were as wide as the basketball court itself.
Central High School District opened its new $3.5 million, 1,000-seat gym with a community celebration and ribbon cutting last Wednesday.
Superintendent Bennie Newton said the community’s reaction has all been positive.
“They’re just ecstatic,” Newton said. “Everyone is pleased with it and happy with the way it turned out. They think their money was well spent.”
Residents passed a bond issue to pay for the construction.
There is no doubt this is the home of the Bronchos – a large Broncho logo greets visitors at the main entrance, and horse murals adorn various locations inside the gym. “Central High School” is painted, in large letters, on one of the walls, while another wall reads “Home of the Bronchos.” A digital message board flashes with school pride.
“It looks like Central High,” Newton said. “You’ve got modern technology. You’ve got up-to-date equipment, but yet you don’t go overboard with it.”
The gym has weighed heavily on Newton for the past 15 months as it slowly went up brick by brick.
“As I told my wife, this being completed is a big lift off of my shoulders,” Newton said. “It’s been an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life, but it’s been difficult and time-consuming. On the other hand, it’s been very rewarding. The highlight of the whole project was seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they walked in the door. That says to me it was worth it all.” READY TO GO
Two people who benefit the most are girls basketball coach Chad Weldon and boys basketball coach John Nease.
“It’s amazing,” Weldon said. “It’s going to be a big difference between the old gym and this gym.”
The atmosphere the gym exudes is one of the highlights as far as Weldon is concerned.
“I would put it up against any gym around here,” he said. “What gym has a big message board in it? What gym has murals? The atmosphere is going to be amazing.”
Nease agreed.
 “There is so much excitement from the community as well there should be,” Nease said. “The amount of room we have. The amenities that come along with it. It’s going to be real good for the community.”
The coach likes certain aspects of it most visitors would not even think about.
“As I coach, I love the space,” Nease said. “The ability to have six goals going at one time. The opportunity to put up shooting machines on certain goals and still have practice on others, that is something I’m looking forward to.”
The old gym did not even have some of the basics that most schools took for granted. No more.
“Having locker rooms with actual bathrooms in them is a big difference from the old gym,” Nease said with a laugh. “Having a coach’s office, that’s huge, because those are things we didn’t have in the old gym. There are a lot of things we are looking forward to.”
The 7th and 8th grade teams will christen the structure with the gym’s first official game against Sterling on Nov. 7 at 4:30 p.m. The first high school home game is against Bray-Doyle on Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Presently, the January Stephens County Jr. High Tournament is the only tournament scheduled, but Newton said the school would make bids on district and regional contests.