Houlka gym renovation
Houlka is known as a basketball town and it looked like the whole town turned out to see the newly renovated gymnasium Nov. 9.
The 40-year-old facility received a $300,000 facelift which was completed just in time for the upcoming basketball season. Upgrades include new bathrooms and concession stand, a enlarged lobby, painting, insulation and replacement of some of the metal panels behind the bleachers.
“We’re really glad to have our new, renovated facility,” said Dr. Betsy Collums as she addressed guests at the ribbon cutting. Bro. Joe Coggins, son of a former Houlka coach, gave the invocation and Collums thanked the administration and staff of the district for their efforts in supporting the local school.
“In a small school, you wear many hats,” Collums said. “You may be working the concession stand or picking up trash after a game. You just never know.”
She also thanked members of the Chickasaw County Board of Education for making the renovations possible.
“We want to thank the board for being supportive in the changes we wanted to make,” Collums said. “It took some back and forth to decide what work to do.”
Coach Jimmy Guy McDonald introduced the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats teams for 2013-14, asking for community support for the basketball program. And he added a special request for parents to support the school in their academic efforts as well.
He said recent news reports have praised the efforts of several local school for improving their academic standards and said Houlka will improve as well.
“Parents, get behind your kids,” McDonald said.
School board president, Ruby Hollin, cut the ribbon at the gymnasium dedication, officially opening it for business as usual and former players joined in a fundraising alumni game to initiate the facility.
Coach McDonald summed up his appreciation for the renovated gym in a few words.
“It’s a nice place to come to work,” he said.
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