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Be thankful. Be patient. Those are the simple words which apply to county high schools following the Lancaster County School Board’s recent decision to build new athletic field houses in the four areas – Andrew Jackson, Buford, Indian Land and Lancaster.
Buford and Andrew Jackson are grateful because those two schools will be getting the first two field houses.
Lancaster and Indian Land high schools will follow.
The first two field houses, which will cost between $600,000 and $700,000, are scheduled to be built in 2008.
Due to funding, it was decided two field houses would be built one year and the next two the following year.
Lancaster and Indian Land will have their field houses in phase two.
Original plans called for the field houses to be built at Indian Land and Buford where no such facility is available to the schools’ teams.
Lancaster County School District Superintendent Dr. Gene Moore’s recommendation was to build the field houses at those sites because Buford High School and Indian Land didn’t have an existing facility.
The field houses will have locker space for athletes and coaches. The buildings will be used to store football, track, soccer, baseball and softball equipment.
During the board meeting, board member Margaret Gamble, a former district administrator, teacher and coach, made a motion that Andrew Jackson and Buford receive the first field houses.
Gamble, who represents the Andrew Jackson area and a portion of the Buford area, noted the condition of the Volunteers' near 30-year-old field house at the high school stadium.
"Nobody goes to the field house," Gamble said. "There have been roaches in there. The smell is terrible – it's not clean."
The motion passed 4-2, with the first two field houses to be built at Buford and Andrew Jackson.
That leaves Lancaster and Indian Land in a situation of waiting for their new facilities. Like Buford and Andrew Jackson, Indian Land and Lancaster are in dire need of new athletic facilities.
Indian Land, like Buford, is without, while Lancaster, in much the same situation with Andrew Jackson, has an antiquated facility that has been around for 30 years when Memorial Stadium opened in 1967.
It's going to take some time, but the field houses will become a reality in time, sooner in a couple of places.
But plans, with district officials pushing and school board members acting, are finally in the works.
Depending on cost and construction progress, Indian Land and Lancaster High School could get their field houses sooner than expected.
"I'm very positive about all of it," Indian Land school board member Don McCorkle said. "We're trying to upgrade everything. It's going to take a while, but we're going to get there."
Until then – be thankful and patient. In the meantime, work together to work out storage and housing problems until the new facilities are the pride of the athletic department.
At the same time, make sure athletic administrators and coaches are an integral part of the planning process.