June 11, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Heritage Academy has a new face that lights up the night.
The private, independent school in Columbus is putting the finishing touches on a $250,000 construction project that has added more than 3,000 square feet to the school''s gymnasium.
"It''s a beautiful facility," Heritage Academy Athletic Director Bruce Allsup said. "It''s really going to add to our school and to our gymnasium.
"When people come in here they are really going to have the ''Wow'' factor. I think that really adds to our gym and to our campus. It gives us a face when you come by our campus."
Located at 625 Magnolia Lane, the Heritage Academy campus, which includes an elementary school for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, didn''t have any large identifying signs or postings on the exterior of its gymnasium prior to construction.
Now people traveling on 18th Avenue and cutting across Bluecutt Road in Columbus can easily see the home of Heritage Academy basketball has a new addition that will have many uses.
Allsup said that "Wow" factor could help the school in recruiting new students. He said the school plans to paint inside the gymnasium to spruce up the interior. He said the addition won''t affect the seating capacity of the gymnasium.
Headmaster Tommy C. Gunn said the project has been in the works for many years but had been put on hold after other construction projects needed to be addressed.
He credited the school''s athletic booster club for funding most of the project. He said private donations helped the school come up with the rest of the money to pay for it.
Gunn said Wythe Rhett, who has children who attend Heritage Academy, organized the work for the project. He said the school also received plenty of donations of material and labor to complete the work. He thanked everyone involved for their hard work and dedication in helping the school realize its plans.
"We started out drawing it on a piece of paper and it just went from there into what it is now, a pretty nice facility," Gunn said. "This was a good time with the economy being what it is. People and businesses were looking for work, so we got reduced rates on a lot of things because people were looking for work."
Gunn said the addition gives the school a "focus point" for people in the area and for visitors to recognize. He said the space will be used for dances, classes, lectures, meetings, and other functions.
The addition also includes central heating and air conditioning, bathrooms and a concession stand that fans attending basketball games can use.
The entrance to the facility includes a balcony that looks down on a large open space. An American flag that hangs on the wall facing the entrance greets you as you come into the building.
A Patriots logo is built into the floor of the area downstairs.
"We feel the facility will be used a great deal for a lot of things," Gunn said. "I think when people come by they will know what this is. I have noticed driving by since the lights have been on that people will slow down to look at it because it is a pretty impressive thing.
"Because our campus is pretty spread out, you really don''t know where the front door is. Now you know when you come in where the front is and where you need to go to get into something."
Gunn said the school plans to have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the addition sometime in August to coincide with the start of the football season.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.