Center construction continues
The new Highland High School Activity Center is expected to cost approximately $5.6 million and offer the community physical fitness, entertainment and economic benefits.
The activity center is being built as a result of the 1.7 mill increase dedicated specifically to the construction of the center and made possible by Sharp County citizens in November 2006, according to Superintendent of Highland School District Ronnie Brogdon. Those funds, along with a savings collected by the Highland School Board for eight years is making it possible for the construction of the center to be underway.
Brogdon said the center is being built primarily for students and their activities but will offer needed opportunities not currently offered by any existing facilities.
"There is no facility within our school district that allows large-scale events such as regional or state tournaments, concerts or other activities that would draw large crowds," Brogdon said.
According to Brogdon, the center will be available for activities such as professional concerts and many other events not affiliated with the school.
Bringing big crowds to the area will also be possible with the seating capacity and updated appliances of the new center.
"It will be air conditioned, which will provide a great improvement over our current facility for warm-weather events. The facility is expected to seat just over 2,000 people, which will also allow us to have graduation indoors during inclement weather," Brogdon said.
The current Highland gymnasium seats a mere 672 in comparison with the new center and is not air conditioned.
The large capacity will also give Highland School District the possibility to hold state tournaments, and a sufficient place to hold school band and choir concerts, according to Brogdon.
Spring River Chamber of Commerce employee Charlotte Goodwin said the center should definitely prove to be an economic benefit due to the possibility of bringing large crowds to the area.
"Holding ball games and hosting tournaments will definitely be an economic boom to the community because of people coming to the area and spending their money," Goodwin said.
As for offering an exercise facility to the community, Brogdon explained that a walking track will be located in the upper level of the center and on nights that the activity center is not in use, it will be available to the public.
The center is expected to be completed in the early summer of 2009.