Ground has been broken at Central Coosa High School for a new 1,600 square foot fieldhouse complete with new locker rooms, area to lift weights and more accessibility for patrons with disabilities. The completion date is set for this spring, in preparation for the school’s spring game.
“We are adding to the football persona around here,” said head football coach Shundell Russaw. “This is big for the upcoming kids. It is probably a little bittersweet for the kids leaving this year, but the foundation they set is going to keep up progressing.”
The new fieldhouse will be located directly beside the existing concession stand. Two new handicap bathrooms will be accessible from the outside of the fieldhouse, to go along with the existing bathrooms in the concession building.
A room for referees to get together will also be in the building’s floor plan.
The Coosa track had recently been upgraded and soon will be getting a new walkway from the track to the concession and fieldhouse, to better suit handicap individuals.
“I am excited about this,” Russaw said. “It shows me that the program is growing. People are buying in with all the community support. I am ready for the dog days of summer already.”
The new fieldhouse is not the only thing new coming to Coosa and its football program, as the school has recently acquired over a dozen new helmets, 70 Nike game pants and new pads for players.
The money raised by Russaw and his team this year was the catalyst for new equipment, something Russaw is incredibly proud of.
“The community has supported us,” Russaw said. “The kids have worked so hard with fundraising. Now we are reaping the benefits.”
With a newfound plan for development set within the football program, it is only a matter of time until Russaw brings home a winning season for the community that so fervently supports him. The new season, Russaw said, starts as soon as basketball wraps up.
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“We are returning our core, except for like three people,” Russaw said. “I have about 10 kids that have committed to playing that are in the hallways. I am trying to give the basketball kids some space, so they can make a good run. We have to get the football team to that basketball level.”
Before the fieldhouse, the Cougar football team had to walk up and down the hill behind the stadium bleachers to get together as a group. Sometimes, the team would just stay on the field, and be exposed to the outside elements.
“We had a game this year where we were at halftime, just sitting in the rain,” Russaw said. “I thought this would be a big step in the program to get the kids their own building, and allow them to have some type of ownership.”
The Cougars will also be playing a spring game against Wadley, something Russaw wants to bring to the school every year. Now with new gear and facilities, Russaw hopes to increase the involvement in his program drastically.
“There is going to be some great competition coming in here in the spring,” Russaw said. “We will probably have a lot more kids coming out because of it. I hope to have about 70 kids for that spring game.”
Aside from the upgrades on the track and addition to the fieldhouse, renovations to the Belyeu gym are set to begin soon.
The gym will be outfitted with brand new bleachers and the flooring around the building will be repainted and resealed to be more sustainable for the future. The existing tiling in the gym’s foyer will also be replaced.
Russaw has said that he took the Coosa coaching job, along with his other teaching and administrative responsibilities at the school, as a way to challenge himself and in turn challenge the youth around him. It seems the fieldhouse is a huge step in that direction.
“I want to motivate a change of culture, a change towards excellence,” Russaw said. “I am so excited. This is an exciting time to be a part of Central Coosa football.”