Published 8/28/2012 in Special Sections : GCHS
State-of-the-art facilities await GCHS athletics.
By BRETT MARSHALL
Brad Nading/TelegramA Garden City High School logo is located on the athletic director's window looking out in to the gym, while a large portrait of Bruce Lee and a statement by Lee is on one of the walls in the office.
Brad Nading/Telegram The Garden City High School volleyball team practices in the auxiliary gym. Action in the auxiliary gym is visible from windows along the walking track at the upper portion of the competition gym.
Brad Nading/TelegramGarden City High School weight room is located in the lower level.
Brad Nading/TelegramGarden City High School wrestling room.
Becky Malewitz/ Telegram
Brad Nading/TelegramBrytany Landon, right, hits a backhand shot during a Garden City High School girls tennis team practice at the new GCHS tennis complex. The complex is located south of the football stadium.
Brad Nading/Telegram A new scoreboard and video screen is tested at Garden City High School's football stadium earlier this month.
Brad Nading/TelegramThe competition gym in the new Garden City High School is centrally located in the building, with the main entrance for it being on the north side of the school.
Brad Nading/TelegramMike Smith uses one of the machines in the cardio exercise room at Garden City High School.
Brad Nading/Telegram A panoramic view of Garden City High School's new football, track and soccer stadium.
When voters in USD 457 approved in November 2008 to expend more than $90 million for a new Garden City High School and to upgrade various other educational facilities in the district, most people also knew that there would be a noticeable upgrade to the athletic facilities.
It will come as no surprise, then, that when Garden City High School's athletic teams open their 2012-13 seasons, they will be participating in state-of-the art facilities.
"When this was being planned, we wanted to make sure that our student-athletes had the best facilities available and that our coaches were given the best opportunity to be successful," said Martin Segovia, athletic director at GCHS for the past two years. "We're ecstatic with the way things have turned out, and the kids are looking forward to having a new home in which to play."
The USD 457 Board of Education approved earlier this spring to expend additional monies to add lights and bleachers to make the football stadium the "Home of the Buffaloes."
"Everything with the additional facilities was all about timing," Richard Atha, USD 457 Superintendent, said. "When we came in under budget, we had the opportunity to look at long-range options and decided to put everything in now rather than later."
Atha cited installing concrete rather than asphalt for the parking lots; grass field to artificial turf for the football field; locating all GCHS events at the new campus rather than busing teams and the band to Memorial Stadium for home games.
"Now we can host everything at home right here," Atha said. "We wanted to look out 20 to 25 years and see the advantages of doing it now. The board faced the decisions, and we had the money, so they elected to add all of these facilities now. It was cheaper now than it would be later to finish off the facilities."
The new stadium, which also had added a new concession stand, ticket area, bathrooms and storage, will seat approximately 4,000, with 2,500 of those on the GCHS west home side. An additional 1,500 seats are on the east side, and the stadium has two modest-sized press boxes on each side, as well.
The football field originally was to be a natural grass surface, but the district elected to install artificial turf at a cost of $675,000. The field's surface has the latest developed turf that looks like real grass, resembles the length of normal grass blades, but has ground rubber underneath to make it a softer surface with better traction for the athletes.
The GCHS boys soccer team had the first official competition at the stadium on Saturday, when it hosted Emporia. The varsity football team will have its first game there Friday when it hosts Bixby, Okla.
In all, $1,906,740 in expenses went into the additional construction approved by the board earlier this year, according to information provided by Kathleen Whitley, financial officer for USD 457.
Those expenses included: synthetic turf ($675,778), Concession/storage/ticket/restroom building ($352,029 after deductions of $623,025 for electrical room paid from contingency fund, and from savings by Adolfson and Peterson on heating during construction), football field infrastructure ($113,057), football field, pressbox and scoreboard wiring ($109,695), adding fiber optic to football field ($29,185), stadium lights and installation ($195,000), additional bleachers ($427,996).
On the west side bleachers, the middle three sections are reserved for GCHS season ticket holders. There are 860 cushioned seatbacks that were to be installed early this week in advance of Friday's season opening football game. The cost of those seatbacks was paid for by private contributions.
The stadium's video board was constructed at a cost of $285,004 (board and installation). According to Atha, corporate sponsors of the overall project will pay for the scoreboard. Of the expected $420,000 monies committed by local and area businesses, approximately $350,000 already has been collected. Atha indicated that the remaining monies would be collected within the next month. Those corporate sponsors will have signage recognition on the scoreboard for 10 years.
There is an eight-lane track that has been lined and measured in meters that will be host to the Garden City Invitational track meet next spring, with the hopes of landing a regional track meet in the future for Class 6A schools. All the accompanying events for track and field — long and triple jump pits, high jump, double-ended pole vault, two shot put and two discus areas and javelin — are situated along the perimeter of the track/stadium.
There are two additional grass practice fields for football and soccer to the northwest side of the stadium.
As students, parents and the public drive around the school from the south to the north, they will be greeted first by an eight-court tennis complex with lighting. Both the Buffaloes girls and boys teams will practice there daily, and it will be the host location for the teams' respective invitationals in the fall and spring. There are small bleachers situated between courts for viewing by fans.
On the north side of the field event areas, there are practice fields for both softball and baseball.
Inside, athletes and fans will be treated to one of the most impressive gymnasiums in southwest Kansas — with a seating capacity of 2,500, an overhead scoreboard at center court, and scoreboards at each end of the court for easy viewing by players and coaches. Seats in the primary area on both sides of the court will have flip-up backs to make for comfortable seating for the fans.
The competition gym and an auxiliary gym next to it will accommodate four volleyball nets. The auxiliary gym will seat approximately 500 for basketball games, where junior varsity and freshman games will be played. Fans arriving at the school's north entrance will go up a flight of stairs to the gym's main entrance and then walk into an arena with all the seating and the floor located below. The walkway around the court will accommodate a walking path that in 10 trips around equates to one mile. That walking area will be open to the public from 5 to 7 a.m. daily. That time frame will be staffed by GCHS coaches and teachers.
And while the gym will be open to the public from the beginning of the school year, it is still unclear as to what the access will be for the public to the football stadium track and tennis courts. Segovia said they were still working on developing a policy for those specific facilities.
On the ground floor of the gymnasium, there is a full-length storage area behind one side of the bleachers to store equipment for all sports. Competitive wrestling mats also will be stored there to avoid having to carry mats down and back up to the practice room.
On the upper level of the gymnasium, there is a practice wrestling room, at approximately 3,600 square feet, which is roughly 30 percent larger than the previous practice room at the old high school. Next door to that is a large practice room to accommodate the cheerleaders, dance squads for both athletics and choirs, whereas in the past they were practicing in the school's hallways.
Locker rooms for all varsity teams, as well as for physical education classes, are plentiful. The football varsity locker room has 80 spaces, and a door from there leads out to the stadium. Offices for coaches are in the nearby hallway to the locker rooms. There is a meeting room with graduated seating to accommodate 68 people. It also has a projection screen for watching game films.
"What people might not realize is that this is going to allow our physical education classes to be more versatile for the entire student body," Segovia said. "We were so limited in what we could do at the old school. This gives us so much more flexibility to develop new and better programs for the kids."
For Atha, the entire overview of facilities at the new high school was about balance.
"We wanted to balance all the academic and athletic/activity facilities for our students," Atha said. "Also, what we offer the female student-athlete was just as important as what we offer the male student-athlete. We've got the weight room and fitness center that allows all of our students to stay fit if they want."
Weight room/ fitness center
Dominick Dingle oversees the two rooms that already have been busy with student-athletes and faculty/staff.
There are eight major stations in the weight room, Dingle said. The room is approximately 90-by-40 feet.
There is a leg press machine, a neck machine, medicine balls, new dumbbells (all the other weights were moved from the old high school). The GCHS Booster Club and Sideliners Club purchased a new MAXX Head that is football specific to test strength, reaction time and agility of the players.
"It's already paying dividends for us," said Dingle, the assistant head coach to Brian Hill. "We can assess a player and identify the areas where they need to get better and can develop a plan to make that happen."
A separate cardio room with multiple stations is situated on the lower level of the gymnasium area between the competition and auxiliary gyms. Currently it is being used by coaches, staff and students.
Segovia has said that there currently is no curriculum for classes for the student body, but there are plans for that in the future.
Athletic training room
The new facilities also include a physical training room where Cassy Boyd, employed by Sandhill Orthopedic in Garden City, begins her daily work at 1 p.m.
She is charged with keeping the GCHS student-athletes healthy, working with them on rehabilitation of injuries and making sure that all the forms for physicals have been completed and submitted to the state activities association.
In her new facility, there are now four taping stations compared to two in the old building; there are three treatment tables compared to two. An ice machine has been added that allows her to use both cube and crushed ice to treat injuries.
There is a large storage area, a restroom and an office that is about 15 percent bigger than at the old high school.
One of the best features, according to Boyd, is the load out wet room that can accommodate the vehicle to load athletes in and out without tracking anything through the rest of the building. It is located directly off the hallway that connects to the gymnasium, and the outer exit is closest to the football field.
"Actually, this is nearly what I had designed when they asked me what our needs would be," Boyd said. "We'll be able to do a much better job of taking care of the student-athletes than we have in the past."
She usually has about eight to 10 student aides who work in the athletic training program. Currently, three of her former aides are now working in athletic training at the collegiate level. Boyd received her bachelor's of science degree in athletic training in 2007 from Kansas State University.
Boyd's day doesn't end until the last of the student-athletes are finished with their practices in the evenings. Two mornings a week, she travels to Ingalls to work with the athletes at the high school there. The remaining two to three mornings each week, she is at Sandhill's main office on the corner of Fulton and Main streets.
"The new facility just gives us more ways to better care for the student-athletes," Boyd said. "It's exciting because we've got things computerized on the forms, and we can update things much more quickly and everything is more accurate, too."
While the bond proposal of 2008 did not include construction of a swimming pool, architectural drawings and estimated construction costs were made by Stewart Nelson of Gibson, Mancini, Carmichael and Nelson, p.a., the Garden City architectural firm that was involved in the entire project.
In documents provided by Whitley from USD 457, the pool would have been located on the north end of the school, just east of the pointed door entrance. It would have included an eight-lane, 25-meter pool, a zero-depth pool, seating for 250 (fans) and 75 (swimmers). It would have included boys and girls locker rooms. The estimated cost for the 19,650-square-foot facility was $7,319,820.
"The board wanted to see what a swimming pool facility would look like, where it would be located and how much it might cost," Atha said. "It was determined at that point, that the cost and maintenance was just too much to have it in the bond proposal. So they chose not to consider it."
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