The new Sam Barnhouse Center was unveiled Wednesday during a school board meeting where several students talked about what the new athletic facility has done for them.
The 2017-18 school calendar was also approved at the meeting that was held in the wrestling half of the center, which opened to students about a month ago.
“This is the future of Hillsboro High School athletics,” superintendent Jim Smith said before the meeting started, adding that 73 kids worked out in the center earlier in the day.
Kevin Fawley, the school’s new coordinator of athletic facilities, said an average of 66 students are using the facility daily, up from about 40 when the facility opened. Smith said 80 students are currently enrolled in workout plans and board president Bill Myers said he expects that number to rise.
Senior Gary Vincent told the board that since the center opened he’s improved his footwork, agility, lifting, running and technique. He said one of his goals was to gain weight and that he’s gone from 204 pounds to 213 pounds since the center opened, and is in better shape.
“They record our lifts every day and that breeds competition. But it’s friendly and makes us better,” he said.
“The thing I like is that it’s not only for people who have been in the gym and played sports,” student Logan Tener said. “I don’t play sports, but I’ve been in here for four weeks every day.”
His brother, Eli Tener, said he has doubled his maximum bench press in just four weeks.
Jeremy Hayton said working out at the center recently helped him set a school indoor record of 6-9 in the high jump.
Board member Doug Ernst said the students who spoke were obviously excited about the new facility and asked them to promote it other students.
“This is about wellness of not only athletes, but our students in general,” Myers said. “To have this as a starting point and being able to jump off from here is really exciting.”
The board approved next year’s school calendar. The first day of class for students will be Aug. 14 and the last day will be May 18. Thanksgiving break is Nov. 23-24, winter runs Dec. 22 to Jan. 7, and spring break is Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2.
The board heard a progress report from curriculum specialists Shelley Beumer and Alicia Sellins. A handout they provided said a high-quality curriculum is varied, continuously evolving, future-oriented, aligned to the standards, and engaging for students. They said their goal is to set the bar high so students can achieve at their highest level possible. They said they are seeing assessment improvements in all grade levels.
During committee reports, Smith said the Ford Excavating Company has been working on new practice fields at the school site. “We didn’t think we’d being doing that in February, but we didn’t think we’d have a February like this either,” he said.
Smith also said the former cafeteria at the old school site is being transformed into a baseball and softball practice area.
Ernst said practice for spring sports starts Feb. 20. He also said that admission prices to athletic events when Hillsboro joins the Frontier Athletic Conference next year will be $5 across the board. Hillsboro is currently a member of the South Central Ohio League, which charges $5 admission for adults, but $3 for students and seniors.
Myers noted that the board recently received its seventh consecutive gold award from the state for being effective.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.