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Change is coming for natatorium

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Change is coming for natatorium

Times are changing, and so is Hobbs High School’s Badger Natatorium. While designs are still in the planning stages, work is expected to begin on the Badger Natatorium transformation after the 2018-19 school year begins.

It won’t be an overnight transition though. According to Gene Strickland, Hobbs Schools director of operations, the project will be done in three phases and won’t be finished until July of next year, which means it will be ready for use for the 2019-20 school year.

“Right now we are in the design phase of the construction documents,” Strickland said. “Once those construction documents are done, then we will package that information together and put it out for bid, put Phase 1 out for bid. … With all of the projects, we won’t actually start until October and then we would go through the summer of 2019 and be done by July of 2019.”

With the CORE opening on the other side of town, Hobbs High School no longer needs to maintain its swimming pool. Last month, the pool was drained as the first step in a number of proposed changes to the facility.

One of the changes that is coming is a new wrestling room with a boys and girls locker room.

“Wrestling is housed in an old storage area and racquetball court,” Strickland said. “Not near enough program for that space, especially as that program continues to grow. To make use of the space, what we want to do is they will have two full-size competition mats.”

Strickland went on to say there has been talk of hosting a junior varsity wrestling tournament in the new space where the varsity hosts its home meets in Tasker Arena.

“Right now, we host the varsity meet on one day and the JV meet on another day because of space restrictions,” he said. “But there will be ample space in there to host some competitions.”

There will also be an update to the Old Commons area. Aside from expanding, the area will get new furniture and some bigger tables that can hold larger groups.

“We are serving about 200 kids lunch in there everyday, at each A and B lunch,” Strickland said. “That is not a big space. So what we will end up doing is having a really good flow to it, that will house about 350 kids in seats … we are going to get more seating in here that makes it feel more like a student union.”

Additionally, the old wrestling room will become storage. It will actually be broken into four storage areas. The girls basketball and volleyball teams will get larger locker rooms, a laundering facility, a meeting space between the locker rooms and new classrooms in the facility as well.

“We are going to call it a classroom. It is going to be a classroom,” Strickland said. “In all reality, in all of Tasker Arena, there are no classrooms in there. So, if we did have a health class, or something that needed to meet, we would have to utilize this space within the 100 to 600 wings of the main building. Here, we can hold those programs in these classrooms. We will add another one on the boys’ side as well.”

The old wrestling room will become a storage area and according to Strickland, every program at Tasker Arena will have space to store stuff in the new storage area. An example of what that means is volleyball won’t have to store its nets and everything in its locker room like it currently does. The cheerleaders, who work out of the indoor facility, will also get a space to store everything they use in the new storage space that is being created.

“They won’t have to store it in their locker room or take up shower space,” Strickland said. “They have done things out of true necessity and what we want to do is take advantage of this space and use it to the best ability that we can.”

Strickland also said the weight room in Tasker will get some additional space and gain some additional square footage. The unused storage space behind the weight room will go away and the weight room will acquire that added space.

“This weight room will be similar in size to what we have here at the indoor,” Strickland said. “In all reality, they both see about the same numbers of kids per day. So it will be nice to have two of those spaces where we can accommodate those kids.”

The trainer’s room will also get a face-lift. Strickland guessed that particular room had not been updated in at least 20 years and possibly 30 years. Among the updates to the area will be adding some taping space, therapy space, and treatment space. The space will gain its extra square footage from the boys’ PE locker room behind it, which will shrink in size, as most PE students do not shower following PE class anymore.

The roof over the commons area and the new wrestling will be replaced.

While construction will be going on during the school year, the area of construction will be walled off, keeping students out of the work area and workers out of the student’s area.

Burkett Shaw
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