Demolition is progressing steadily, Liberty County School System’s Interim Chief Operations Officer Jason Rogers told the Courier Tuesday. Bradwell Institute is currently undergoing renovations to its gym and surrounding areas to improve the seating and infrastructures related to school athletics and classes.
There were three main issues that needed to be addressed, Rogers said. The original PE (physical education) locker rooms were not functional in any way, shape or form, he said. The students taking weight room must currently change in the PE locker rooms.
“It doesn’t sound like a big issue but when kids were coming late, the gym teachers were having to go unlock, and re-lock, which created a mix-up,” Rogers said.
Another goal is to increase the seating capacity in the gym, he continued. Bradwell’s old seating capacity was an estimated 1,100. With the renovations in place, LCSS is looking to add 200-220 additional seats, Rogers said, upping the capacity to nearly 1,334. There is also a reoccurring issue with players sharing the bleachers with fans — which the extra seating aims to fix, Rogers added.
“We’re demolishing these old locker rooms,” he said. “This is going to be new seating. We’re going to be able to increase 200-220 more seats in the gym.”
The old trade and industrial wing will be converted to the new PE locker rooms, located across the hall from the gym, according to renovation schematics. The new locker rooms should accommodate the number of students in the PE classes, Rogers said. The weight room now has their own locker rooms as well, Rogers continued, and it will cut down the amount of interaction and interruptions to PE classes.
“The varsity locker rooms were relocated next to the PE locker rooms,” he said. The varsity athletes will now have their own space, and with the newly created second entrance to the gym, the home and visiting teams will remain completely separated.
“Basically, we had everyone entering from one area,” Rogers said. “With the new entrance to the gym, the opposing teams will use the PE locker rooms to change. They’ll enter on one side, and ours from the other. They’ll be completely separated.”
The plans also include the addition of a film and laundry room, located in a small wing next to the varsity locker rooms.
In a completely different direction, the renovation includes the addition of two new classrooms, which will house the Early Childhood Education program, according to Rogers.
“Because we’re able to get in on the renovation side of it, it’s taking a little bit longer,” he said. “We’ll be able to obtain industry certification for that program, which is a huge thing for the CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) classes.” Rogers explained that this is another area that LCSS is improving upon.
The renovations include an area for a potential performance gym in the future, he said. When LCSS master-planned the site, the extra gym was built into the renovation plans.
“We’ve mapped this to where we won’t need to duplicate anything,” Rogers said. “We’ll just be able to connect, and we’ll still be able to utilize all these [locker rooms] areas without having to duplicate everything somewhere else.”
As for Bradwell’s varsity basketball teams, Rogers and Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry have met to determine contingency measures. Currently, with practices set to begin in October, the teams’ practices will be held at either Midway Middle School or Lewis Frasier Middle School, Rogers said.
“We’re meeting to look at scheduling for the games,” he said. “If they have to play at Liberty County High School, the games will be scheduled when LCHS isn’t playing.”