Support continues to grow for a $600,000 athletic training facility at Midway High School.
During a Tuesday meeting of the Sampson County Board of Education, Beth Best, MHS athletic director, made a request for the project to be considered in the County Commissioner’s 2017-18 budget.
In 2015, Principal Monty Strickland received permission from the school board to move forward with the project. At the time, the school had a potential donor willing to make a contribution. So far, a promissory note to donate $100,000 was signed. A fundraising committee was established in February 2016.
“We are asking for support from the board to ‘cover us’ by helping with the cost of this project,” Best said.
Best said “covering us,” means several needs at MHS for a training facility. Some of them include extra space for classes, outside locker rooms and first aid facility. It’s also expected to help during hazardous weather conditions and parking issues.
“Midway and Union high schools are the only high schools in our district that do not have this added facility,” Best said. “An athletic training facility would complete Midway’s campus and be an asset to Sampson County Schools.
Three student-athletes also expressed their feelings to the board. Christopher Oates plays varsity soccer and is a member of the track team. He believes the outdoor facility will benefit all of the student-athletes since it will eliminate trips inside the school to change clothes or get treated for injuries.
“This facility will be a huge benefit to all the student athletes and it’ll be greatly appreciated by all of us,” Oates said.
His schoolmate,s Maddie Royal and Chandler Williford, feel the same way. Royal shared his experiences as a track athlete.
“Oftentimes when we host meets at Midway High School, there’s always an overcrowding of the bathroom facilities …,” Royal said.
She said it prevents family members and other coaches from using bathrooms since they’re occupied. Royal believes that a new facility would stop that problem, along with not having spaces to have ankles and other body parts taped and wrapped up for competition.
“Having this facility will prevent us from being separated from what’s going happening on the track and keep us connected with everything, which will really help with the flow of the track meet,” she said.
Royal said it’ll help other sports such as football.
“Having this space will open up so many opportunities to our students and to our staff,” she said.
Williford, varsity baseball player, spoke about other benefits such as weight training.
“As you know, sports at the high school level are extremely competitive and weight training kind of boosts mentality and ability over other schools,” he said about building good morale.
He also believes it’s beneficial to students for preparation purposes such as putting tape on wrists.
Currently, the committee has $220,000 to put toward the athletic building. In one year alone, Best said more than $60,000 was privately funded to house band equipment, a booster storage facility and improvements to baseball and softball fields.
“Our fundraising committee is currently hard at work creating brochures and making contacts to help continue the tradition of finding funding on our own,” Best said.
Best said the committee is seeking support for the facility, which will be an asset to Midway and the county.
“Sampson County Schools has always been a supporter of the Midway area schools and specifically Midway High School, and for that we are grateful. Tonight, we are not asking you to make it easy on us by providing full funding, tonight we are asking you to help us make this project possible by continuing to show support in adding this project as line item for the county commissioners’ next budget,” Best said. “We appreciate your collaborative support.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.