Grab A Shovel

El Campo ISD leaders and school board members joined representatives for Polasek Construction Wednesday for the ground breaking ceremony for the Ricebird Weight Room project. Pictured are (l-r): Kevin Stehling, Board President James Russell, Trustee David Vallejo, El Campo High School Principal Demetric Wells, Trustee Susan Nohavitza, ECISD Head Coach Wayne Condra, Greg Polasek and Assistant Superintendent David Bright.

El Campo ISD kicked off the construction of a new high school weight room Wednesday, marking the fruition of a plan almost one year in the making and the renovation of a building long labeled in need of repair.

“It’s going to be a great building for us in the sense of having an opportunity to get some new weights, to help build our kids, men and women, into better athletes,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra told the Leader-News.

Before contractors began their work, ECISD administrators celebrated the milestone with a small ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon. Condra, Superintendent Bob Callaghan, El Campo High School Principal Demetric Wells, several ECISD trustees and others involved in the project grabbed shovels and threw heaps of dirt aside, marking the new construction zone near Ricebird Stadium.

Polasek Construction of El Campo was selected by the ECISD school board earlier this month to build the $2.2 million Ricebird weight room project. The finished building will be detached from the current football field house.

The new weight room building will include a training room, restrooms, a co-ed weight-lifting area and more.

“Having the new training room to help take care of our kids who might be injured is also going to be big,” Condra said.

In an evaluation of district facilities performed in 2019, a board-appointed committee identified the weight room among one of the areas in greatest need of renovation due to safety reasons.

“There have been a lot of Ricebirds go through there,” Condra said. “It’s been a very good space, but it’s a limited space. We’re growing, we’re getting bigger numbers (of students), so we needed some added space.”

The board first broached the idea of renovating the Ricebird weight room in late February of this year, ultimately selecting architects from Singleton Zimmer Haliburton to design the new space.

SZH used their own expertise to design the new weight room, but also sought input from coaches and district leaders, Condra said.

“When (the architects) came, he was very good about asking, ‘ok, coach, what are you looking for?’ and taking those ideas and working them into the building that we’re going to get,” Condra said.

The estimated completion date for the new weight room is August, 2021.

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