The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 29, 2012

Ardmore High School plans for future with new gym

By Jonathan Deal

— It won’t happen next semester or the one after that, but one day Ardmore will have a new basketball facility. The school board made sure of that in a meeting earlier this month by approving a $150,000 land purchase next to the school.

The move provides the school with approximately 2.5 acres to build a new gym. The purchase will allow a more practical gym to be built than the one originally proposed.

Following the initial purchase of just over an acre near the school, the board agreed to pay Davis Architects of Birmingham to draw plans for a three-story gym. The additional purchased land will allow a larger, one-story gym to be built closer to the school.

The current Ardmore gymnasium was built in 1984 along with several other gyms across the county. Since then, Clements, Elkmont, Tanner and, most recently, East Limestone have constructed new facilities. Ardmore head coach Mike Sanderson hopes his school is next in line.

“It’s not just a basketball facility, it’s a community facility,” Sanderson said. “If I could list all the events I’ve got the gym ready for this year, you would be amazed how many of them are nonbasketball related — football pep rallies, banquets from each sport, band auction, band concerts, graduation if the weather is bad and all kinds of community events.”

Anderson should know. The 25-year coaching veteran has spent two decades at Ardmore caring for the basketball gym.

“This is the hub of the community, so to speak,” Sanderson said. “The infrastructure of our gym is really taking a hit because you have pipes that have already needed to be replaced. You’ve had damage done to the floor. Our locker and dressing room — there isn’t any room for new lockers. I’ve taken great pride in taking care of this gym. What we’re hoping is that when we get a new facility, this will become the middle school gym. We’re big enough for that now.”

The timetable on when the new gym will be built is still unclear. School board members say it could be 5 to 10 years, but hope it will be sooner.