Sports Complex

This architectural image shows the proposed Hampshire High Sports Complex.

Cumberland Times-News

ROMNEY — The conference room at the Hampshire County Courthouse could barely accommodate the countless citizens, coaches and business leaders who appeared before the county commission to request financial funding for the construction of a Hampshire High Sports Complex.

Complete with a computer-generated rendering of the 1,400 square-foot, two-story steel facility, citizens told commissioners they have already raised $113,000 of the total $586,860 needed for construction.

Julie Shackelford, Hampshire High Football Boosters treasurer, said the majority of the money already raised was donated by businesses and individuals in the area.

“The naming of the building and the different rooms in the building was an incentive for businesses to donate,” said Shackelford, whose husband Richard Shackelford, along with a former Hampshire football coach, was instrumental in kickstarting the project. “The Bank of Romney, the FFA (Future Farmers of America) Alumni and Charlie Carl of Romney all donated in memory of my husband.”

Charles See, sports complex committee member and owner of the Hampshire Review, said he understands it’s not the commission’s main duty to take care of the school system, which is currently unable to commit to any kind of support for the complex, however, he said this facility will serve not only students but also people of all county entities.

“All of us are dependent on this building,” said the Hampshire High graduate who scored the first recorded touchdown for the school. “The police and many people in the public could use this building.”

A Class AAA school with Class A facilities does not provide students with the foundation for training and conditioning needed to compete at the same sports level as schools with updated gym, equipment and locker room space, said Principal Bill Cottrill.

Currently, the situation at Hampshire shows a constantly busy gym accommodating various sport teams, causing groups like cheerleaders to hold their practices in the hallways during football season, said Shackelford.

“Our facility is deplorable,” said Shackelford. “There is fungus growing up through the floor with the floor falling through upstairs from the weights.”

The George Arnold Center, which was built to house extended sports activities, is not large enough for the growing Hampshire population.

Head football coach Darren Grace plans on purchasing new equipment but has put a hold on that because of the lack of storage space.

Volleyball coach Megan Fuller said the Arnold Center mainly adapts to the boys’ practicing needs because of the single bathroom and lack of dressing rooms.

The completion of the new sports complex would eliminate all of these issues.

With the top floor designed to house weight and auxiliary rooms, the bottom floor will provide dressing rooms, a training room and a coach’s office.

See said the “first-class facility” is important for raising the morale not only of the student body, but also that of the whole community. Along with the wellness center, the sports complex will go hand-in-hand in improving the health and well-being of the citizens of Hampshire County, he said.

“We’ve seen Hampshire County being kicked and kicked and kicked the past few years,” said See. “We believe this project can start us on the way to the top. We say it’s for the public, but this is for the kids, the public is just invited.”

The commission refrained from announcing a funding commitment, saying they will first consult with Hampshire Healthcare, whom they are working with to help fund the new wellness center, and should have an answer to the amount they will allot at the next meeting on June 7.

Bobbie L. Carpenter can be reached at bcarpenter@times-news.com.

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