Multi-million dollar project gets EH new locker areas, weight room

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Eastern Hancock’s strength and conditioning program got a big boost with a new weight room.

Daily Reporter photo

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The football team can put away the storage totes.

The boys basketball team won’t need to use the coach’s office, or a classroom, as a place to change and store their clothes.

The swimmers won’t be run out of their lockers for opposing boys and girls basketball teams on game nights.

Locker room space is expanding at Eastern Hancock High School.

Along with the locker room project — which will include new lockers along with the additional area — the school has a new weight room.

In all, the Royals are near completion of a $3.2 million plan for better accommodations for student-athletes and physical education classes.

“I don’t know exactly how many more lockers we will have than in the past, but I do know the space, and utility of the space, is 1,000-times better,” Eastern Hancock athletic director Aaron Spaulding said.

The school is hopeful all lockers will be in place and ready by the time school gets underway on Aug. 3.

Spaulding said walls have been built for locker areas, but workers are still putting in door frames. Also, the remaining lockers, which should be in within the next few days, will need to be installed. Some flooring and painting needs to be completed, too.

“We’re crossing our fingers that it’s ready to roll when we start the school year,” Spaulding said. “They’re getting closer.”

The project started last summer, but has had its share of road blocks from delays of back-ordered materials to lacking available workers. Construction during the school year had athletic teams trying to make the best of the situation, whether it be with storage totes for the football team or dressing in a classroom for the boys basketball team.

Spaulding said among the many advantages of the new locker areas, which he called the athletic department’s biggest need, each sport will have their own in-season lockers. Teams will not be displaced for opposing teams and referees coming in to play or work games.

Along with getting additional space, Spaulding added that older lockers were overdue in needing to be replaced.

“Our locker rooms weren’t in good shape, so the kids didn’t taking good care of them,” Spaulding said. “Now they’ll have something they can take a little pride in.”

While the locker rooms are nearing completion, Eastern Hancock student-athletes have been working out in the brand new weight room since returning from spring break.

In partnering with Hancock Health, the Royals have $97,000 of new equipment and a nice space to train.

The new weight room has a new location, on the school’s first floor. The previous weight room was upstairs behind the gymnasium bleachers.

“I can’t imagine many Class 1A or Class 2A schools having a nicer weight facility than we do,” Spaulding said. “I feel that is where you really build the foundation of your athletic program. Kids that are bigger, faster, stronger are going to do better on the field. It’s the foundation of your athletic program. The knowledge (they receive from strength and conditioning coach Derek Cullison) they will use their entire life. You learn all the basics that keep you healthy and fit.”

Spaulding said athletes are taking advantage of the new facility, and are eager in anticipation of the completion of the locker room portion of the project.

“Right now, it’s like, ‘When is this going to get done?’ Spaulding said. “People love the weight room, but the other stuff they haven’t been able to reap any of the benefits. Hopefully we’ll get to that benefit phase pretty quickly.”