Construction began on new gyms for Temple and Villa Rica high schools with the intent of both teams playing in them by now. With some delays, unforeseen complications and final preparations, the Tigers will be playing in the gym closer to February, while the Wildcats might be waiting until the 2013-14 campaign to play their first games in the new location.
Temple constructed its schedule this season with just one ‘home’ game played at the first part of the year, with the hopes that last weekend’s games against Heard County and Bremen would be played in the new facility. Instead, those games, along with tonight and Saturday’s games against Skyline, Ala., and Jordan are taking place at Temple Middle School.
“They’re close and working hard at it. We’re looking to do the ribbon-cutting on Jan. 31. It got moved back due to some last-minute things that we wanted to make sure, on our end, that they’re allowed enough time,” Temple boys’ basketball coach Steve Robinson said. “We’ll be looking to get in the gym sometime at the end of the month or the beginning of February.”
At VRHS, it was all a problem of moisture that caused the latest delays, making the timetable a little less stable than the one at Temple.
“We thought we would get in by Jan. 4, but due to some issues with the moisture in the floor, they had to wait and put it off. They started the flooring this week,” VR boys’ basketball coach Jason Robinson said.
The two coaches have different thoughts on playing in the gyms this season. For Steve Robinson, it is a reward for the players, especially the seniors, the school and the community.
“I think they’ve worked hard enough and deserve it. They understand that there’s a lot of guys before them that really laid down a lot of groundwork for them to have the opportunity to play in this new gym. They respect the opportunity, and hopefully they’ll play the right way out of respect for the people who played before them and make everybody feel like they’re a part of it,” Steve Robinson said.
As for Jason Robinson, the VR coach is taking a more competitive view of not moving midseason.
The Wildcats play with a distinct home-court advantage in the older style gym and have won big games, including an upset of Tucker in the second round of the state playoffs two years ago, in the place they’ve called home for so long.
“It’s one of those things, our kids like playing in the old gym. It’s kind of a badge of honor for them, and we’ve had a really good record in there the last four or five years here. It’s difficult for schools coming into a smaller type gym where the crowd’s right on top of you. We’re looking forward to the new one, but at the same time, we’d like to have a little practice time on the floor. That being said, if it were to open, of course we’d play in it. We think this home floor is kind of like a sixth man for us. It has its advantages and disadvantages, but we feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Hopefully, it’s got a lot more wins in it before it gets retired this year,” Jason Robinson said.
The nature of the delay and the problem with the moisture on the concrete makes a set date for when the new gym will be finished hard to figure out. Each step left will take some time.
“I haven’t heard anything since we really got back. The date that I got wasn’t a date. It was six-to-eight weeks to lay the floor once they start that and 10-to-14 days for the bleachers,” Jason Robinson said. “Timetable-wise, it’s not looking good. Everything else is finished, as far as the gym itself. It’s just a situation where they couldn’t control the moisture content of the concrete. It didn’t dry as quick as they thought it would.”
If everything stays on schedule at Temple, the Tigers will play their first games in the gym on Feb. 1 when they host Christian Heritage in a non-region contest for the first of three straight home games before they finish the regular season on the road. No matter when those games come, Steve Robinson is honored to be able to coach his players and his team in the new facility.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be able to be a part of something this big here at this school. I’m just the coach and this community is a whole lot bigger than I am. I’m excited for them to be able to enjoy the new gym. I’m just thankful I have the opportunity to coach in the new gym,” Steve Robinson said.
When the gyms are completed, Temple and Villa Rica will join Bowdon and Mt. Zion in the Carroll County School System to have new gyms in recent years, while Carrollton High School opened its new facility last year.