The Belton communities BHS Athletic Complex finally a reality
Sunday, 22 July 2012 by David Tuma
Belton's first Athletic complex has finally arrived and athletes from junior high to high school have been working out at the new facility. There will always be those comments on why do they need this or that. But for a school district that was behind the times 15 years ago and increased enrollment by over 65 percent at the high school level since 1996, something had to be done.
BHS's only increase in sports dressing facilities was the tiny building next to the swimming pool. The facility will be used to house boys and girls soccer players of which there are over 200 participating.
Belton's athletic complex will be used by 450 athletes on a regular bases. The school district has over 300 participating just in football. The biggest misconception is money...the building is paid for by football ticket sales. The second is that it is a football building, the complex will house softball, track, cross country, tennis and softball. Storage is something most people don't thing about and Belton had major storage problems dealing with sports. The facility will house the training rooms and business office.
Last week the coaches took the weights in the barn building and moved them to the junior high schools and weight room at Tiger Gym.
It is a building the community can be proud of and if you haven't toured the 11,000 ft weight room it is a simply must see for sports fans. The coach's offices and business offices are functional and give a view of the field and it is easy to find.
There are 24 bench presses verses 16 at the barn building. The bench presses have step up boxes and with exercise balls on top held by racks. It has similar jammer machines for shoulders but they added restraining bands in addition to weights. It has a greatly expanded dumb bell rack and many other amenities to add to the areas top 5A program.
Chains are now used on bench press bars to change the resistance through the lift. The more you go up the harder it is to lift and some of the chains are 50 pounds. Each bench has three sets of chains and they are used for both squats and bench.
There is no question when you tour the facility you are in a one-of-a kind Bell County facility. BHS also has produced Division I scholarship athletes on an impressive scale the past three years.
It isn't extravagant but the weight room has no equal in the area. "This weight room is comparable to any in Texas. Allen's will be bigger but this room matches up with anybody. I would put it up against 95 percent of the colleges in the state. It is something for the entire community to be proud of. We did this when I was in Marshall and because it is a climate controlled facility it still looked new 10-years later," said Athletic Director Rodney Southern.
For a community that was still using home made lockers at Belton High School for athletes, the facility is a major change.
Coach David Rice has been put over weight lifting for all sports at BHS. Rice will oversee the weight room on a daily basis.
From the swim team to junior athletes the weight room was in use this week. "Junior high weight lifting is a key to success at the high school level. This facility puts us ahead of everybody else. We can provide more for kids and that is what this is all about. Administrators see the bigger picture. Coaches who come in from the area who have seen it from the inside are in shock. It looks big but 32,000 square feet isn't that big when you are housing over 500 athletes. When you start putting kids in it ,the size changes. For the athletic program, Belton has never had a front door. Right now the ESPN guy is up at the front of the high school. I don't tell people how to get here and when Mack Brown would come here I would go meet him in the parking lot. This facility represents the community," said Southern.