HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL)– The Harris County School District officially unveiled their newest $12 million, multi-sport indoor training facility. Athletes walked the through the doors for the first time Wednesday.
“It’s a real big, experience walking in here. I didn’t know it was this big when I walked in, but walking in, I just know it’s a good thing for Harris County,” Senior Mataye Youman said. “We need something like this, good experience for not just me, but for all my teammates you see all around here.”
Harris County is the 5th school in News 3’s Georgia viewing area to have an indoor facility. Administrators say it was time to compete with those surrounding areas and keep up with the growth.
“Harris County High School when it was built, was a 2A high school. Now it’s a 5A high school and we haven’t had any upgrades to the facility since then,” Assistant Superintendent of business services and technology, Dr. Justin Finney said. “So, our gymnasium and current athletic facilities at the high school, we’ve outgrown those. So, we needed this to relieve the pressure on those facilities, mainly the weight rooms, the PE classes, and those kind of things.”
What athletes are most excited for: practicing in the rain, and the boost in morale.
“It has a lot of things for us to get better at as a team and everything else in the locker rooms are amazing,” Junior Linsley Brown said. “When it rains, the outdoor sports get canceled. Now we don’t have a reason to cancel practice, we can just go in there.”
“All my sports that I play from for football, you know, if it’s a rainy day or anything, I could come here, go get some work. Like you got soccer, if it’s a rainy day, stormy day, come in here with my team to get some extra work in,” Youman added.
“It gives us a reason to come to practice during the summer and have fun and enjoy it, because now we get the new weight room and there’s speakers in there and stuff and we’re just going to have a lot of fun this summer, getting ready for the season and then practice while it’s raining and stuff like that,” Sophomore Riley Huckaby told WBRL. “I think it’s going to be really fun, I’m just really excited to see what comes out of it.”
Athletes, JROTC, and band members will have access to the 60-yard practice field, weight room, and four new, state of the art locker rooms. This facility was funded by largely by the public and visitors of Harris County by Education Special Local Optional Sales Tax (ESPLOST) funds.
“As a 5A high school, they deserve a 5A high school facility. And we just want to do it for our students. I’d like to thank the Harris County public for financing this building with their ESPLOST dollars,” Dr. Finney said. “ESPLOST is a great, one cent state sales tax funding mechanism for us, it makes funding of facilities like this possible for our kids.”
Harris County citizens set to go to the polls Nov. 7 to vote whether to renew the ESPLOST.
Additional funding came from a $1 million general obligation bond, $2.5 million came from the construction of the new Harris County Carver Middle School which was completed under budget.
Construction does not stop there for Harris County athletics; six new tennis courts are being built next door to the Harris County High School which will allow the district to host state tournaments and playoffs.