I want you to use your imagination a bit for this week’s column.
Imagine Huntsville boys basketball hosting Harrison in the finals of the regional tournament. Both teams are state-ranked and playing for a regional title. During the regular season, the teams split their two games, so this game will be for bragging rights, as well.
The game will be played in Huntsville’s activities center, where 1,800 people will be in attendance.
Huntsville’s pep band and always-rowdy student section will be at one end of the arena. Outside there will be plenty of parking. Inside, a lot of people will have comfortable seats with backs, where they can enjoy all the action.
The concession stands will be bustling and the arena will be loud and joyous.
Or maybe imagine this. Nearly 2,500 seats will be available for Huntsville High School’s annual graduation. Parents, grandparents others will be there to see their loved ones graduate, without having to drive to Fayetteville.
Plans are coming together for Huntsville’s activities center to be built on land the school owns between North Gaskill and Polk streets, just north of Cain Avenue.
A meeting was held last week (see story on Page 1A) so architects could get an idea as to where the building should be located on the property.
Those attending decided the activities center should be built running north and south between the current practice soccer field and the back of Meadowview Healthcare and Rehab and Boston Mountain Rural Health. You can stand on the soccer field and see the field for yourself.
The activities center will be 87,700 square feet, approximately 170 feet wide and 300 feet long. The building’s design is similar to one built not long ago in the town of Nashville. It will be similar, in some regards, to those in Berryville, Alma or Harrison. The floor of the arena will be below ground.
The activities center will seat about 1,800 people for athletic events. About 700 more people could be seated on the floor for graduation, band performances and or other events.
Maybe the activities center can be a catalyst for Huntsville getting a chain motel and more eating options along the U.S. 412 bypass. People coming here for an event might need a place to stay overnight and a place to eat before or after the activity.
Voters last May approved a 3.9-mill increase in the district to fund the activities center, two Career and Technical Education facilities and air conditioning for the St. Paul and Charles H. Berry gymnasiums.
The new heat and air systems have been completed at the two gymnasiums. If you’ve been to an event in either gym you know how nice it will be to have air conditioning. It apparently was used recently for a home basketball game in Huntsville.
We’ve reported in the past about how student athletes have passed out while playing a sport inside the gym in Huntsville. Anyone sitting in the stands knows how miserable it can be when outside temperatures increase.
Even for non-sporting events the gyms are miserable.
I’ve read the comments on social media from people who are angry at this whole process. It seems they wanted the multi-million dollar projects to be completed immediately. It doesn’t work that way. A simple house doesn’t get built quickly when you think about it.
I firmly believe that Huntsville and St. Paul will see their CTE buildings. The activities building also will be a reality. Not quick enough to satisfy some, but it will happen.
The “complex” where the activities center is going could one day also include new baseball, softball and football fields, but that is way, way off at this point.
The millage increase will generate enough money to pay off the bond needed to fund the activities center, HVAC projects and the CTE buildings.
That will be a great place to start.