The Ardmore High School Tigers have a new place to roam after their new gymnasium was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday night.
Delegates from across Limestone County and the city of Ardmore gathered on the campus to celebrate the state-of-the-art facility.
“We’re just really excited,” Principal Tommy Hunter said. “It’s big enough for all kinds of growth.”
As the band played “Eye of the Tiger,” students and parents marveled at the gleaming floors, stadium seating and just the sight of everything new. The only thing missing is the four-sided jumbo scoreboard, which is yet to be installed.
Also in the complex are a conference room, home and away team locker rooms, two classrooms and a hospitality area in the concession stand. What visitors couldn’t see was the wireless Internet connection installed to allow media and school broadcasts of games.
Another crowning feature is the lobby. It's marked with a tile tiger head installed at the entrance to let visitors know they’re in the Tigers’ den. People in the lobby can also take in the game in real-time on screens connected to the wireless network.
Hunter said all the bells and whistles of the gym added on to the façade renovations of the main building would build up school spirit among students and the community. Students enrolled now will always remember being the first classes to do anything in the new gym, including graduate, he said.
“I think it’s something they’re going to look back on and be proud,” he said.
At the unveiling, Limestone County Schools Superintendent Tom Sisk told the crowd the new facility was only the first step in creating a sustainable school system.
“The idea is to build 21st century schools,” he told The News Courier. “As we build, we need to build for the future, not the present — we have to envision these buildings lasting for 50 to 75 years.”
“This gym was built to not only to meet our current needs, but also our needs for many years to come,” Hunter said. “I think you’re going to see a very long time before we outgrow it.”
School board member James Shannon represents Ardmore and said he was grateful to see the gym built before he leaves office in November. Hunter and Sisk said he was fundamental in getting the project rolling.
“I’ve been on the board for 12 years, and I’ve been trying to get this gym for 12 years and I made it,” Shannon said.