Vikings cut ribbon on new field house

By Brad Morris

ASHVILLE β€” Having robust participation in extra-curricular activities from the youth through high school levels is a goal for every school district.

A potential issue with that goal is having enough space to house all of those activities, and that’s what the Teays Valley Local School District was running into over the last few years.

“(Then Teays Valley superintendent Robin Halley) and I were walking around our buildings and seeing all of the different activities that we were housing, from recreational-level basketball teams through our programs we offer at the high school,” Athletic Director Joel Baker said. “The size of our youth and high school programs was getting to a point where it was difficult to schedule everyone in our two gymnasiums and also getting our outdoor sports, like baseball and softball, conditioning time when the weather is inclement outdoors.

“To keep those programs growing and to meet the needs of our community, we knew that we needed to address our space issue.”

Teays Valley unveiled its answer on Friday to its space limitations by cutting the ribbon and opening a two-story, 40,000-square foot field house built on the former practice field for the football team.

Officials and students cut the ribbon outside the new two-story 40,000-square foot field house that will offer expanded space for Teays Valley student-athletes to train. Photo courtesy of the Teays Valley Local School District.

“We probably have the fastest-growing school district south of the outerbelt, so this additional space will address the needs of our students and give them a year-round space where they can hone their skills and strive to be better athletes,” Baker said.

The field house cost $5 million and was funded through a variety of state and local sources.

“This is Mr. Halley’s project and all the credit goes to him for going out in the community to raise awareness and also help raise some of the funding to pay for it,” Baker said. “This project has been three years in the making and it’s nice to have it finished as Mr. Halley retires as superintendent.”

The Vikings looked at field houses constructed at a number of districts across central Ohio and decided to model their new building after the field house that Ashland City Schools constructed in north central Ohio.

“What we liked about Ashland’s field house was its durability and how multi-use it was,” Baker said. “The more teams and the more kids we can get using the field house, the better it will be for our community.”

The floor plan for the first floor of Teays Valley’s new field house.

The first-floor consists of home and visiting locker rooms, storage, restrooms and three multi-use courts constructed with a durable all-sports surface that will be lined for basketball, volleyball and tennis. There is also additional room available for either a medical clinic or orthopedic center.

The second-floor includes two balconies that can be used for various activities, including indoor batting cages for baseball and softball, space to roll out mats for cheerleading, golf simulators and a two-lane walking track for conditioning.

The second-floor plan of the new field house.

“One of the biggest needs that all of our coaches agreed upon was having a big open space indoors that can be used by any of our teams,” Baker said.

The district’s athletic trainer, C.J. Kinzer, will move out to the new field house that includes a training room and light weight/cardio equipment to service students who are rehabbing from injury.

With the football team moving out to the field house, it opens up room for Teays Valley to expand its high school weight room into the former meeting room for the team and offer additional equipment.

The field house caps a series of projects that the Board of Education identified over five years ago as necessary to bring Teays Valley’s athletic facilities up to a Division I high-school level.

“We’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses as a school district, but at the same time we are trying to provide our students with the opportunities, facilities and support that other districts across central Ohio provide for their students,” Baker said. “We don’t have the biggest facilities compared to some of the other districts in central Ohio, but what we now have is comparable and what works best for our district.”

Field turf was installed in Viking Stadium before the start of the 2019-20 school year to address the former grass field that had difficulty draining and would lead to it being torn up and barely suitable for play as the fall dragged on.

“Having field turf has really opened up using the field more for football, soccer and band, but also our other sports. Our baseball and softball teams will work out on the field in the fall and again during the late winter/early spring when it is cold and rainy,” Baker said. “We host our annual band competition and no longer have to worry about the field, and we’ve also hosted football and soccer tournament games for the (Ohio High School Athletic Association).”

A new video/scoreboard was also added to the west side of the stadium.

The district also purchased land to the south of the baseball field for a new football/soccer practice field to replace the one that the field house now occupies.

Coach Mark Colburn has overseen improvements to the baseball field. The next project the district will likely undertake will be for its softball team.

Check out this video of Teays Valley’s new field house shot by our friends at Litter Media.

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