An early Christmas present got unwrapped Friday afternoon as the Armuchee community got its first look at the new Armuchee High School gym.
With stadium seating for over 1,400, the facility includes a state-of-the-art HVAC system, LED lighting, Wi-Fi capabilities, shot clocks on the goals and a digital-enabled scorer’s table.
“To me it’s the most beautiful gym in Northwest Georgia,” Armuchee boys’ basketball coach Clint Decker said. “It’s top-notch. There’s none like it. So we’re very excited and happy, and it does feel like Christmas.”
Members of the school’s girls’ basketball team gave the gym a resounding thumbs up as they gasped when entering the home girls’ locker room, which is complete with a team meeting room that is furnished with comfy couches, a large-screen monitor and a dry-erase board.
“We are just so blessed to be able to get this opportunity to have a new gym,” Armuchee girls’ coach Michelle Arp said. “I’m so excited for the girls and for the school.”
The building, located next to the school’s softball field, is being touted as a multi-use facility, with the usual amenities for programs like basketball, volleyball and wrestling, as well as home and visitor locker rooms for softball, and a concession stand to serve both softball and basketball fans.
The nearly 32,000-square-foot facility is part of the 1-cent education local option sales tax package passed by Floyd County voters in 2017 and estimates put the price tag at just under $10 million.
Both coaches thanked the voters and the Armuchee community for supporting the project and hope that they enjoy it just as much as the teams that will call it home.
“When it all comes down to it, basketball is a sport for fans. It’s entertainment from the smallest level to the highest level,” Decker said. “So having the most comfortable seating is big. And we have all stadium seats. There’s not one bleacher seat in this gym. The openness of it makes it a very inviting, welcoming place.”
Arp is a former Armuchee player and spent her high school career playing in former gym, which was built along with the school in the early 1980s.
“As a coach, there is so much better technology in this gym and that’s something we’re all looking forward to,” Arp said. “But being a part of this program for so long as a player and a coach, having this facility is special for the program. There are going to be so many new memories made in here.”
Decker said he was especially happy to get a court installed that is college-length at 94 feet.
“I felt like that would be a nice home-court advantage for us because no other school in the area, with the exception of maybe Trion, has that,” Decker said. “Everyone else has an 84-foot court.”
He also is excited about the locker rooms and their television monitors considering his team’s most recent routine when it came to watching game film.
“We’re going to be able to watch film together right here at the court where before we had to go to a classroom to watch film and then walk to the gym,” Decker said. “So that will make the transition better to go from watching film and then going right to practice.”
Decker said he still gets compliments about the school’s older gym, which will now be utilized as an auxiliary gym for team practices and concurrent events.
“There were so many good memories made in the old gym,” Arp said, “but sometimes it’s not just the facility, it’s the people who are in it. And that’s not going to change.”
Armuchee’s first home basketball games in the new gym will happen after the first of the year with games against Unity Christian School on Jan. 4 and Region 7-AA foe Model on Jan. 7. Decker said he expects to have the official opening night on Jan. 10 when they host Pepperell.