ASHLAND -- The Keith Wygant Memorial Field house has officially opened its doors to the public in Ashland after years of hard work.
According to Josh Packard, Ashland High School principal, it’s been about a three-year project.
“It’s taken a while, but on the other hand, we have been so blessed that the community has stepped forward to help us with this,” said Packard. “This will be for all of Ashland City Schools in some way, shape or form.
“In the winter, basketball practice is always an issue – we have kids who don’t get home until 9 p.m. at night because we only have so many gyms. Now we are going to be able to fix that problem. Even though it’s an athletic complex, it has an impact on academics because our kids get home earlier."
Three multi-purpose courts highlight the main gymnasium, with a second-story track lining the outer rim. Theoretically, the space is large enough to accommodate basketball, volleyball and tennis practice all at the same time.
Batting cages for the baseball and softball teams will eventually be added to the main area as well.
The main gymnasiums floors are currently laid with concrete due to some humidity issues during the construction process.
The inside area is large enough to even accommodate the marching band; that way they can continue to rehearse despite the weather outdoors. The floor will eventually include tick marks that’ll represent the yard lines on a football field.
Students using the weight room travel through the Rosey’s Memorial hallway, presented by the Ashland High School Class of 1966. There are three separate companies considering the purchase of the weight room’s equipment.
The addition of the Jack Ebert training room was a much-needed improvement, according to Luke Blackley, field house tour guide and Ashland High School senior.
“This area used to be significantly smaller and now it’s state-of-the-art,” said Blackley. "It’s not just an athletic facility, it’s a multi-functional, multi-purpose facility.”
Stairwells leading to the second-story theatrical chandeliers salvaged from McDowell Auditorium, paying homage to Ashland’s past theatre building. Ascending the stairs will bring individuals to the brand new wrestling room. The facility also includes a new concession stand for events.
Community members can donate to the Ashland City Schools foundation. If someone donates $250, they can get their names or a short message inscribed on a brick on one of the several pillars surrounding the field.
A donation of $3,000 will get the donor a bench dedicated to them. There are a total of 16 benches up for grabs.
There are future plans to open the facility for public use.