Facility Friday: Sharp Stadium Upgrades, Montana Western Sports Complex, Prep Weight Room Upgrades

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

Facility FridayPlanned upgrades to the prep Sharp Stadium in Covington, Ga., can soon begin. 

“The board of education has approved the fiscal year 2023 budget, which includes artificial turf for the field, new field lighting and the demolition of the old Sharp school, which will allow for parking lot improvements as soon as of FY 2024,” Newton County Schools Dr. Michael Barr, chief operations officer, said.

Local head football coaches and athletic directors recently stated their support of installing artificial turf. 

Barr stressed the turf’s importance to the longevity of Sharp Stadium and its field, too — a stadium that has been around since 1956. 

“In the near term, the goal is to ensure Sharp Field is appropriately maintained,” Barr said. “Artificial turf will help ensure the field is always in good condition for the three high schools that frequently utilize the facility.

“The long-term objective is for each high school to have a complete athletic facility; however, that work is not in the current plan.”

However, Barr did not say what a “complete athletic facility” would include.

Other athletic facility upgrades are in the works outside of Sharp Stadium for FY 2023:

  • Laser grading the football field at Indian Creek Middle School
  • Replacing the track at Alcovy High School
  • New wrestling and track equipment
  • Replacing the sound system in Newton High School’s gymnasium
  • Adding a softball field at Clements Middle School
  • When Clements Middle School’s new softball field is built, all county middle schools will have their own softball fields. 

The Covington News 

Umw Rendering Complex 640umwbulldogs.com

The Sports & Activities Complex project at the University of Montana Western recently achieved a milestone due to recent fundraising gifts totaling $1 million. These latest donations bring the total to $3.2M funds raised, initiating the land transfer and project design.

The Sports & Activities Complex will be built on 14 acres of land adjacent to campus that John and Phyllis Erb pledged to the university in 2019. As part of the pledge, the Erbs included a fundraising challenge that provided the momentum to launch the fundraising efforts.

The Erbs' vision is the establishment of a space that will benefit not only the students at Montana Western, but also the youth in Beaverhead County, in addition to the Montana Youth Challenge Academy cadets.

"The Erbs' pledge was the catalyst for this project," said Montana Western Chancellor, Michael Reid. "We are so grateful for their generosity and shared vision that creating a facility like this on campus would be transformative for both the university and our community."

The total raised is $3.2 million, which fulfills the 2019 fundraising challenge and ensures the $4 million project will move forward.

The new complex will be available to continue the long-lasting relationship with Beaverhead County High School with the opportunity to host high school games and events for other organizations upon completion. — UMWBulldogs.com 

Gloucester High School’s weight room and fitness center is set to have a new look.

In January, the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association, a local non-profit organization that helps Gloucester athletes in many ways and was a driving force behind the Newell Stadium project that was finished in 2013, started raising funds to rehabilitate the fitness facility at the school. The organization has held multiple fundraisers since for the project, which has a budget of $120,000, and a private donor has promised to match the first $50,000 donated.

Over the years, the weight room has become a bit outdated and in need of an update with some of the equipment deteriorating.

“The room had not been touched in well over 20 years,” GFAA President Kristin Michel said. “The equipment is damaged and somewhat makeshift. We felt it was time for a refresh to meet the student’s needs.”

A purchase order has already been signed and the project is slated to start this summer. All of the old equipment has been removed from the facility and the first order of business later this summer will be to put in new floors. After the floors are put in, the workout equipment will be installed.

The GFAA worked closely with several GHS coaches and staff including football coach Dan O’Connor, cross country coach Ali Mitchell, track and field coach David Coleman, assistant field hockey and girls hockey coach Don Riley, GHS physical education teacher Jim Unis, who used the fitness center as his classroom during the 2021-22 school year, and former GHS Athletic Trainer Alyssa Williamson.

The goal for the coaches and staff is to make the facility a place where all athletes can work out.

“We need a place on school grounds where the kids can do everything they need,” O’Connor said. “We want this to be a place for all athletes to workout and a place that works for physical education classes too. It builds camaraderie not only within each team but within the athletic program as a whole.”

The updated weight room and fitness center will feature updated equipment of all kinds. Two decade old pulley machines will be replaced with brand new, updated versions. The old weight benches, many of which were torn and in rough shape, will also be replaced. Exercise equipment such as stationary bikes will be added to the room as well, replacing older versions that have been in the room since it was built in the late 90’s. It will also feature a strip of turf to help athletes work on their footwork and quickness. — The Gloucester Times

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