New Hanover Co. school board votes to renovate field house

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email
Updated by Kristy Ondo - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Tuesday night, the New Hanover County School Board voted unanimously to renovate the New Hanover High School field house.

Football season is in full force at New Hanover High School, but off the field players are using a makeshift locker room, because their field house is condemned.

New Hanover football players are stuck changing in a steamy equipment room, instead of their historic field house.  That means they have no air conditioning and no place to shower.  The equipment that used to be stored in the field house is now in trailers.

School board members said they received several emails from parents regarding the situation.

"The parents and the players at New Hanover are frankly putting a lot of pressure on us to go ahead and make a decision, which is understandable," said NHC school board member Elizabeth Redenbuagh.  "They need to have a field house."

At Tuesday's board meeting, board members listened to five options for the field house. The most expensive was a $1.5 million plan that would give student athletes a brand new facility. The least expensive plan only allowed for the bare minimum adjustments to make the old building passable.

After discussion and a short break, board members voted unanimously to move ahead with a more moderate plan. The old field house will be completely renovated with new electric and HVAC systems.

The goal is for renovations to be finished by the end of next summer.

"We're in our third week of the season," said Principal Chris Furr.  "The last regular season game is the last week in November. I think it would be very minimal that could be done by then."

The athletic department said they were in the process of fixing the building with thousands of dollars in private funds to make it safer for players when the building was condemned.  Now, school officials say those funds cannot be used to fix the field house because the funds don't belong to the schools.

"We're looking under every rock to try to find the money to be able to do the right thing for those students," said Redenbaugh.

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