ECHS field house seeing renovations

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Escambia County Board of Education maintenance worker Willie Ferrell sands down a wall in the ECHS field house on Friday morning.|Photo by Chandler Myers

By the beginning of spring practice, the Escambia County Blue Devils football team will get to move into new lockers once the renovations being done to the field house are completed.

Currently, workers with the Escambia County Board of Education led by supervisor Gerald Jones are performing work to improve the interior of the facility.

Blue Devils head football coach Mark Heaton has been watching the work intently over the last several weeks seeing it all come together.

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“We’ve made a lot of different changes and have new things going on,” Heaton said. “One is the locker room and equipment room area of the field house, which we are totally renovating. The Atmore maintenance supervisor Gerald Jones along with Willie, Shannon and Dan have been working the days that they can to build new walls all the way around, dropping a new ceiling in, air conditioning units, drop lights and putting in new doors. They are renovating that entire area and it’s going to be top of the line. Those guys have a tremendous work ethic and do great work. It’s going to be extremely nice once it gets done.”

The work that is being done in the field house will give the inside of the building a nicer environment for the players to walk into each day.

Heaton said the entire renovation will look great once it is completed.

“I think the entire thing will stand out,” he said. “The craftsmanship of the work these guys have done is top notch. I don’t think you will find anything better. I think the locker room and equipment room facilities are completed, it will be the best in the area with just those facilities alone. It’ll also be big for the kids. When they have something great to come and work in every day, it will get them more enthused and more inclined to work.”

The help from the county is not the only thing that the Blue Devils football program has received.

Money from the donation made by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians has also gone to help with some new additions for the players.

According to Heaton, facility equipment and player equipment was purchased with some of the donation.

“Poarch has also helped us fund $20,000 worth of six-foot steel lockers,” Heaton said. “I think it’s 80 lockers that we are going to have in the locker room for our kids and they are going to be really nice. Poarch also helped fund almost $10,000 worth of video equipment and new shoulder pads and things like that to get our kids in the best equipment and best filming equipment we could have.”

The improvements to the facilities and equipment are not the only things that Heaton and the school have lined up.

An idea of another facility adjacent to the field house has been spoken of to house things including restrooms and offices among other things.

Heaton said another championship programs have those facilities and added it helps programs.

“We have a lot of ideas of things that we want to see happen,” he said. “We definitely are in need of a new facility that could house film rooms, meeting rooms, coaches offices and restrooms. We want to start a Escambia County High School Hall of Fame room.. Those are the types of things that we need to have. All of the top-notch facilities from Class 4A to 6A football, I’m talking about those championship programs have those things. My coaches stay up here Friday nights after games sometimes until 3 a.m. and again Sunday after church too. We spend a lot of time and energy here, but we don’t have the facilities to cater to those needs. We make due, but we have to make adjustments if we want to become a top-notch program.”