Published 12:05 am Tuesday, October 16, 2012
A fter years of planning, hoping and dreaming, the Andalusia High School’s new physical education facility is finally complete.
Late Monday morning, contractors with Bayshore Construction Co. gave newly-cut keys to school officials after the inspection of the $2.3 million project. Construction began on the facility last August.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Andalusia City Schools superintendent Ted Watson said. “We’re excited about this new facility.”
The western side of the building holds the 40-yard indoor practice field, which it will be used for many different activities, including football.
On the eastern side, new coaches’ offices, locker room, physical therapy room, visitors’ locker room, weight room and conference room await new occupants.
Outside of the athletic realm, the new facility will also be used for “general education” purposes, AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said.
“There’s no doubt a lot of people in a lot of different avenues got together and formulated a great plan, and they followed through with it,” Seymore said. “It’s going to be an asset to Andalusia City Schools.
“You’ve got so much more indoor facility, wide open spaces for physical education and a new weight room,” he said. “We have a new locker room, which was sorely needed. Just having some things that were outdated and having them be state-of-the-art, it’s going to help the overall attitude, not just for our players but our coaches and school as a whole.”
Seymore said the Bulldogs will keep using the old locker room and weight room throughout the rest of this season.
However, if bad weather occurs, then the team will take its work indoors, Seymore said.
“After the season, we’ll slowly make the move and get set up for offseason workouts,” he said.
What this new facility will do for the City of Andalusia is beyond measure, Andalusia Football Foundation board member Eddie Williamson said.
“It’s just something that I think the school will be proud of and the community will benefit from it by bringing in more people,” Williamson said.
The foundation began talking about building a new facility at the high school a long time ago when it was comprised of a few concerned citizens.
In fact, the decision to form a group to help improve the facilities came in 2007, according to The Star-News archives.
From there, 11 men from the community, many of whom were former players themselves, formed the Bulldog Foundation, which consists of Circuit Judge “Lex” Short, Probate Judge Ben Bowden, brothers Alan and Eddie Williamson, Mayor Earl Johnson, Lucky Cope, David Darby, Tim Bryan, John Jones, Dr. Bob Burkhardt and Paul Rogers.
Like Watson, Williamson said they’ve been waiting a long time for the completion of the project.
“I just think it’s a good move for the City of Andalusia, period,” he said. “It’s something that’s great for our community, and we can take pride in.”
When asked what he thinks the new facility will do for the football program at AHS, Seymore said it’s the team’s duty now to give back.
“I think the players understand that these people went above and beyond to put the Andalusia name up there with the top programs in 4A,” Seymore said. “I think we’ve got to give it back to them on the field, how we care for ourselves and conduct ourselves on a daily basis, not only just on the playing field.
“Not many programs can say that have what we have here,” he said.