PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry is planning a new fieldhouse across the road from its campus.
East Surry has limited space on its main grounds, so the baseball, softball and tennis teams play on the other side of Old U.S. 52.
To better accommodate both its players and fan base, the high school is almost ready to seek bids on the construction of a 48×24 building between the baseball and softball fields.
The new building, just under 2,000 square feet, will have both male and female locker rooms. This structure also will house a concession stand and restrooms.
A plan has been in the works for about three and a half years, said Randy Marion, athletic director and also the softball coach.
Everyone who attended the softball games had to either use a port-a-potty out past the right-field fence, he noted, or they had to make a very long trek to either the Armfield Civic Center or East Surry’s current concession stand behind the first tennis court.
While the locker rooms will be very beneficial, baseball coach Chad Freeman said he was most excited about getting an up-to-date concession stand that is close to the fans.
Right now, the fans sitting on the baseball bleachers would have to walk down a steep hill and back up another to reach the stand. Or they had to walk the long way around along the tennis court fence. And the path doesn’t conform to current handicap-accessible rules.
The new plan calls for the building to be just outside the baseball fence on the grassy hilltop above the home side of the softball field. This will be much more convenient for baseball fans.
Softball currently has a concession stand inside the press box behind home plate. Moving that operation just up the hill to the new facility would allow that space to be repurposed, Marion noted. And with built-in restrooms, all fans should be happier — even those in wheelchairs.
The fieldhouse will look good and tie together several sports, said Marion.
As the baseball coach, Freeman said he likes the idea of having a place where his team can change and equipment can be stored. However, that area across the highway also serves the softball, tennis and cross country teams, he noted.
And sometimes the soccer teams and East’s youth summer camps utilize these areas, too.
There will be a space set aside for a washer and dryer so coaches can clean the uniforms on site, Freeman added.
Earlier this week, Marion and principal Lorrie Sawyers appeared before the Surry County Schools Board of Education.
Before any finalization of plans, bidding and breaking ground could take place, the school district first had to take ownership of the land.
The Pilot Mountain Foundation actually owned the property, but agreed to deed that parcel of land over. The school board enthusiastically gave its support, especially after Sawyers explained that the school and the community were working to raise the funds without coming before the board for a hand out.
Marion said the Pilot Mountain Foundation, the Cardinal Foundation and the Cardinal Booster Club were all joining in to make this project happen. There will be some fundraisers, some donated building supplies and whatever is left can be covered with a loan that the school can pay back over the next five to seven years, he noted.
Marion said that he hopes to break ground in the next six months.
Freeman added that it would be great if the building were finished in time for spring sports.
Those interested in contributing to the project — either through fundraising efforts, donations or volunteering time — can contact the high school at 336-368-2251.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.