Advertisement

Construction on athletic center to begin

September 19, 2000

Construction on athletic center to begin



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Construction begins Monday on a new athletic wing for James Buchanan High School, the first major addition to the school since it opened in 1971, Principal Rob Beaumont said.

The addition, about 5,000 square feet in all, will be built in a courtyard area. When finished in late February, the new center will provide space for the school's weight room and give James Buchanan High's wrestling teams a room of their own, Beaumont said.

A long, narrow hall below the high school's swimming pool served as the weight room until the school board moved it to the gymnasium for safety reasons, Beaumont said.

Two rows of bleachers in the gymn can no longer be used because of the room taken up by the weight room. Beaumont said about 100 students use the weight room facilities.

Advertisement

The wrestlers - usually 35 to 40 students participate in the program each year - have been meeting in the school cafeteria. The athletic room addition will give the teams nearly 2,400 square feet of space, enough room to put down a wrestling mat, Schools Superintendent William Konzal said.

The new center will also add some badly needed space for the school's nine periods of gym classes, he said.

Konzal said he is especially pleased with the addition because it will double as a fitness center for the school district's residents. Residents already have use of the high school's swimming pool and the high school's playing fields. Soon the new center, with its fitness facilities, will be available to them, too, he said.

There is no YMCA in Mercersburg, so the school facilities have been used to fill that role. For example, the high school swimming pool is made available to residents during off hours. There are lifeguards on duty and it only costs residents $1 to use the pool, Konzal said.

Allowing public use of school facilities during off hours made the district eligible for a $300,000 state educational challenge grant that will pay for the lion's share of the new athletic center, Konzal said. The district got the grant through state Rep. Patrick Fleagle, R-Fulton.

Another $100,000 was raised by the district's athletic booster club. The Tuscarora Board of Education put up $50,000 and another $50,000 is still needed to complete the project, Beaumont said.

Officials said tax-free donations to the athletic project can be made to the Tuscarora Education Foundation, care of Beaumont at James Buchanan High School, 473 Fort Loudon Road, Mercersburg, Pa. 17236.

Beaumont said planning for the new center began as far back as 1997. "Dick Heckman, the school's athletic director, and I started to measure out the space by hand three years ago. It's supposed to be completed by Feb. 27 but I hope it's ready sooner," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|