Facilities are an integral part to athletic success, regardless of what level of play you're talking about.
Shadyside's fieldhouse at Fleming Field recently underwent a major renovation, which will be on full display when the Tigers begin two-a-day football practices on Monday.
"The project is something that's needed to be done for years," said Shadyside Superintedent and Principal John Haswell. "There's a lot of win-win for this project for everyone involved. If you take a look at the size of our school and the facility we have, it's awesome. We're very proud of it."
A look inside the newly remodeled Shadyside fieldhouse that includes brand new lockers. The former visitors’ lockerroom was expanded and is now the home dressing room. The fieldhouse project was paid for through the permanent improvement fund.
At the field, now retired superintendent Terry Brinker originally had thought of lifting the roof and remodeling the entire inside. However, that idea proved to be too expensive, so alternative plans were sought.
So, once the administration really began looking around in the fieldhouse and noticed a lot of space that could be utilized differently.
Haswell then got some estimates and opinions from others and a few storage spaces were eliminated, a few walls were knocked down and the visitor's lockerroom was enlarged and has now become the Tigers' varsity dressing room.
"We did that for two reasons," Haswell said. "Obviously, it gave us more space, but that other lockerroom was so darn hot and no air moved through there."
The entire project, which included purchasing new college-style lockers and folding chairs for each players' locker, new lighting, renovation of the showers and installation of air conditioners, cost less than $50,000.
"We paid for this through permanent improvement funds," Haswell pointed out. "Originally, this was going to be a sports foundation project, but then we found out it might cost $500,000, so that become unrealistic, so we went in a different direction.
"We know that this field and this facility will be here, so putting permanent improvement money into this facility makes sense. It'll never be torn down; it'll always be here. That's why we did it."
The work began in November and the actual labor wrapped up shortly after the first of the year. Since then, painting, installation of 54 lockers and hanging of all of the past Tigers' football team pictures has been ongoing.
"The lockers came in in March and we had set it up by track season," Haswell said. "The labor took hardly no time whatsoever. We had some great volunteers come up and work and paint. A lot of this project was made possible through donated time and/or donated material."
Wanting to maintain the facilities and keep the lockerroom clean, Haswell had each locker and chair numbered, so it'll be easily identified if one is missing, broken or even just left out of the players' lockers.
The new lockerroom will host varsity football, wrestling and track and field. The junior high football teams and visitors will dress in the former home lockerroom.
"The kids are thrilled with it and they couldn't believe how nice it was compared to the old one," Haswell said. "Just the lighting and air quality makes a huge difference. Plus, our numbers in 7-12 are up, so we were running out of space."
The outside area of Fleming Field also got a makeover in early July. The area around the fieldhouse, near the home bleachers, was paved. Also, much of the space under the home bleachers was also asphalted.
"(The paving) has allowed us to clean up our lockerroom because the kids aren't bringing mud in and out of there," Haswell said.
The fieldhouse project wasn't the only undertaking to benefit student-athletes of Shadyside this summer. A classroom, at the high school, directly across from the gymnasium that was formerly the home of drafting classes has been renovated into a weight room to be utilized by fitness classes and athletic teams.
The weightroom project was envisioned last spring because physical education classes have been unable to get to the field the last few years because the classes were shortened.
"We didn't have a functional weight room for our physical education classes," Haswell said. "I am a firm believer in weight training for kids, and not just athletes, but kids in general. Plus, the proximity of the gym is perfect."
Everything in the room was paid for through private donations.
Haswell approached alumnus Jim Peel, who is the strength coach at the Butler University, about equipment.
"Jim got us all four racks, two machines, two pull-down machines and all of the weights from Yale University for $3,800," Haswell said. "The equipment is in great shape and through additional donations, I got a whole rack of dumbbells and a few other things we needed."
The weightroom just officially opened last week.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org