Bids to be let soon for renovation of ECHS fieldhouse
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Although various logistics problems, along with state-suggested changes in the original plans, have delayed the planned construction of a new athletic fieldhouse for Escambia County High School for at least two months, officials say they expect the project to be back on track within days.
Shaun Goolsby, Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) for the county’s public school system, said prior to last Thursday’s school board meeting that forward movement on the project could commence by midweek.
“We’re waiting to bid the project,” Goolsby said. “The state has the plans. As soon as they approve them, they’ll come back to us, and we’ll bid it ASAP. We’ve already sent them one time. They (state education officials) marked them, recommended changes and are sending them back to us for final approval.”
Goolsby and Superintendent of Education Michele McClung agreed that the amended plans could arrive at any time.
“They should be here any day now, probably next Tuesday (February 21),” Goolsby said, while McClung said, “I was thinking it would be last week.”
The DDO said ground would be broken for the fieldhouse as soon as a bid is accepted. The concession stands for the visitors’ side of Herbert Barnes Field will be bid at the same time as the fieldhouse.
The new facility, which is set to include a covered practice field, will evolve from a massive renovation of the current facility. Once bids are received and the contractor chosen, ground will be broken on the $1.2 million, L-shaped building, which will boast the school’s athletic logo on its façade. Construction is expected to begin shortly after that.
The covered practice field will encompass about 14,500 square feet. It will not be totally enclosed but will allow the team to conduct drills in rain or extreme heat.
Goolsby said last year that plans are to replace virtually all the current fieldhouse’s existing fixtures. That includes all-new, larger showers and restrooms, a new office for the head coach and spaces for the assistant coaches, a new film room, new lockers in the dressing room, a new sports medicine room, new tubs for ice baths and all-new weight equipment.
“Everything in that building will be new,” he said.
ECHS Athletic Director Vincent Harris has said he is eager to see completion of the facility. He said the new fieldhouse would play a major role in his effort to rebuild the ECHS program, which has not enjoyed much success since the 2010 team advanced to the third round of postseason play.