Changes coming to WSN athletic facilitiesPublished 12:11pm Monday, January 7, 2013
While the news of a new W.S. Neal High School becoming public at the recent Escambia County school board meeting, changes will also be seen to some athletic facilities on the school’s campus.
“It means a lot for the school,” W.S. Neal athletic director Doug Hoehn said. “We needed a new school and it is going to be a great facility for the kids and I am just really proud of that. I am really proud of the superintendent and the board’s decision.”
While Hoehn said it will mean a lot to get a new W.S. Neal High School, he also said it will mean a lot athletically for the Eagles.
“We are going to spend money allocated to us and we are going to redo our athletic facilities,” Hoehn said. “We are going to do some work on the gym and bring it up to date and we are going to have a weight room and a field house. We are going to keep the current weight room but we are going to redo it and the building next to the weight room (current lunchroom area), we are going to redo that and turn it into the field house. We are going to redo some things in there. We also have some other plans that we are going to do for some of our other athletic facilities.”
Hoehn said one of the reasons for the upgrades to the athletic facilities is to keep up with the changes of the new school.
“We are just going to get it modern so it can accommodate all our kids that play sports right now and also accommodate our visiting teams,” he said. “We are going to update the bathrooms and make sure we have access to the playing fields. We are going to have locker rooms for the visitors and the home teams. We just want to have adequate facilities for all kids in all sports. The school is going to be brand new. We really need a new field house. We are going to redesign our field house and some other things to are in the work. We just want to bring everything up to speed to match the new school.”
A plaque on the current W.S. Neal gym said it was constructed in 1978.
“We just want to make sure our facilities accommodate our kids the way they need to be accommodated,” Hoehn said. “We just want to, like I said, make sure there are proper dressing facilities for all teams and kids. We want a weight room for all students to use and that is accessible.”
Hoehn said a new field house is needed so they can have the proper facilities to watch film and store equipment.
“We have equipment scattered all over the place right now so we are desperate for that kind of space to store things,” he said. “We need to shuffle things around in between seasons, so we are in desperate need for storage. Right now in our field house, we are about 15-18 lockers short every year. We need for the kids to have their own lockers. Some are doubling up right now and some are tripling up. With the new plans, we are going to make sure all the kids have their own lockers.”
Hoehn said he would meet with his coaching staff to discuss further details and immediate needs of the changes to the field house, weight room and gym.
The new construction of the school will begin on the south end (old football field area) of the existing campus of W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton.
Superintendent Randall Little said groundbreaking could begin as early as Summer 2013 with construction taking between 18 and 24 months to complete—with the hopes of being able to move in by Aug. 1, 2015 at the latest.