• 64°

Salisbury High School reaches $1 million goal for gym enhancement project

By Rebecca Rider
For the Salisbury Post

A grassroots fundraiser to improve Salisbury High School’s gym has reached its five-year goal of $1 million. A Tuesday check presentation of $820,000 marked the finish line in the passion project.

“We’re as excited and as on cloud nine as we possibly could be,” said Windsor Eagle, former principal and project spearhead.

According to Eagle, plans to improve Salisbury High’s gym began with the completion of the school’s athletic complex in 2008. By 2010, the school completed a field house — which Eagle dubbed “Phase I.”

But just a few years later, it was clear that the school needed more room for its growing athletics programs. Then principal Avis Williams often spoke to Eagle and others about space needs for dancers, wrestlers, a fitness facility and a classroom.

The Athletic Boosters Club formed an offshoot, the Gym Enhancement Board, to oversee the project and received approval from the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education in 2013. The group set a lofty $1 million fundraising goal, but Eagle said he never doubted that the group would reach it.

“I don’t like to commit to something I’m not going to see through,” he said. “We were patient, we did what we needed to do to get there.”

Over the past five years, the community has stepped up. Most of the funds raised have come from local individuals or foundations.

“It’s been a fantastic situation,” Eagle said.

In 2017, at the suggestion of Principal Luke Brown, the board spent $190,700 to add security cameras, air conditioning and acoustic panels to the gym. The improvements were one of the first steps toward a better, more modern facility.

But the final funds were raised by Salisbury High School alumni in a fundraising “blitz.” Approximately 484 alumni from 48 of the school’s 62 graduating classes competed against each other to raise at least $2,000 per class. Most raised more, Eagle said. Total, the blitz raised more than $62,000.

This latest milestone means that construction will soon begin on an approximately 3,400 square-foot, one-story fitness center. The space will provide a large weight room for high school athletes. While an architect still has to be selected and approved, Gym Enhancement Board members are hoping to break ground in the spring of 2019.

The plans also include an addition to the gym’s entranceway, and any extra funds will be used to build a multi-purpose room. This last and latest donation marks the end of the Gym Enhancement Project, and Eagle said he doesn’t foresee any further improvements to the school or Salisbury High’s athletic facilities.

Tuesday’s check was for $820,000. When the cost of the field house, security cameras and HVAC system are taken into account, the amount raised totals out at almost $1.5 million. 

“None of the above was done by any one person,” Eagle wrote in an e-mail. “It took a lot of work by many people to raise these funds. Over 400 people contributed to Phase I, and some 800 donations were made during Phase II, which includes the blitz.”

That number includes the Rowan-Salisbury School System, which made significant contributions to both phases.

In fact, there is still an opportunity for those who love Salisbury High to give.

“I don’t want to say that this is over, because it’s never too late to donate,” Eagle said.

Interested parties can donate by contacting the school or the Gym Enhancement Board. All extra funds collected will be put towards the construction of a multi-purpose room, which will provide space for dancers, wrestlers and community meetings.

Comments

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after engine overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project

Business

11 locals will make up Empire Redevelopment Task Force

Local

New finance director excited to prove himself, continue on path set by predecessor

Coronavirus

County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

Elections

Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ at stop in Charlotte but gaps remain

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with stealing mom’s dog

Business

Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Local

Exhibit about Jim Crow-era travel on display at NC Transportation Museum

Elections

GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Crime

Drive-by shooting injures 24-year-old Salisbury man

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation

Education

Virtually no internet: Rural NC families struggle with online access for school-age children