As rain drops fell on the concrete floor Monday morning, Tim Duncan proudly walked around pointing out the many amenities inside his school’s newest addition.
Paine College’s HEAL (Health Education Activities Learning) Complex, located across Druid Park Avenue from the main campus, is eight months into construction. Already, the 49,000-square foot building has been framed, and it’s on schedule to be completed by Jan. 1.
“It’s just steady progress,” said Duncan, Paine’s athletic director.
By the end of the month, the whole building should be covered, Duncan said. Then, weather will not be a concern for construction. The school is planning to officially open the facility, which features a 2,100-seat arena, Jan. 3, when the Lions play host to Tuskegee in a basketball doubleheader. Paine will play host to rival Augusta State, on Jan. 24.
“I’m really excited about it,” men’s basketball coach Jimmy Link said about the new gym. “I’m excited about the locker room and actually having a scouting report, a board, stuff like that we haven’t had.”
Groundbreaking for the HEAL Complex began in 2009. The school, which received $2.5 million in SPLOST funding from Augusta-Richmond County, was slated to be a much larger multipurpose building. Originally estimated to cost $20 million, the HEAL complex was planned to be 90,000 square feet, with a 5,000-seat arena, an 8,200-square-foot multipurpose room, a weight room, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a walking track, along with classrooms, teaching labs and a lecture hall, according to a 2009 article in The Augusta Chronicle.
The building, now costing $7.5 million, has been scaled back to 49,000 square feet, with no pool or walking track. Yet, there’s plenty of amenities for the school, and the community, to enjoy.
The building features six classrooms, which includes two labs. Also, there’s a large weight room, with a cardiovascular area, and a new athletic training room. Duncan said the school is still developing a model for allowing the community use the facility.
“The health aspect of it is part of the community,” Duncan said. “We’ll want to be able to have classes on health and health disparities among the different types of communities.”
The complex will be an upgrade from Carter Gym.
It will have men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers for the home and visiting teams. Also, there will be a new ticket office and plenty of bathrooms on opposite side of the building.
All 15 coaches will be housed in offices in the facility, which includes a film room and a recruiting room. Also, there’s a room for hospitality events for alumni before basketball games.
Inside the gym, there will be a new, large scoreboard which will display players and their points, rebounds and fouls. Also, there will be two smaller scoreboards placed on each end of the court.
The school will also install a new, wooden basketball floor – one of the last items to finish the complex.
Bleachers will be installed behind both baskets and there will be two suites located above the stage to allow the school more opportunities for in-game hospitality.