Alexander Schools Looks Forward To New Athletic Complex

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The Alexander Local School District, in a joint venture with Holzer Health System, has designed an all-encompassing Alexander Community Wellness Center meant to benefit students and community members.

The 22,000 square-foot facility will include a weight room, two regulation basketball courts, an indoor track, a physician’s room and an all-purpose room. Construction is expected to begin in May.

The financial commitment for the center comes from Holzer and the Alexander School Board, along with community donations. Holzer has committed $500,000 to the Wellness Center over the next 10 years, according to Dr. Wayne Myles. Alexander Local Supt. Lindy Douglas said the project is estimated to cost between $1.5-1.7 million.

Douglas said the plan is to break ground in May and the first phase could be completed by November. That phase would include the majority of the main building, including enclosures.

Phase two and three are the finishing touches to the interior. The school, however, has not yet bid out the project.

The site for the center will be where the old bus garage was located while the new bus garage will be located behind the school’s main complex.

The idea for the Community Wellness Center began with Alexander’s athletics programs outgrowing the amount of space available and the project grew to include health services to the students, according to Douglas.

Douglas said the needs of students and parents were not being met and wanted to create a facility that would address more of a child’s overall needs, so she teamed up with Myles to explore bringing health professionals to the Alexander campus.

Myles, a family physician, former high school science teacher and football physician, called the project “unique” in that he is uprooting his current clinic and bringing his whole practice to the school campus.

In addition to his regular patients, Myles will be available to students, faculty and staff as an acute clinic, he said.

“We see some kids now anyway, but now we’ll have a closer association with the school,” he said.

“It’s a win-win,” in terms of convenience for students and parents, Myles said.

The added health clinic will eliminate the need for parents to leave work to pick up students from school for doctor or counseling appointments, said Douglas.

“Nobody has to leave anymore,” she said. “Mom and dad aren’t inconvenienced.”

The Wellness Center will not only be there for students’ health needs, but will also bring the district’s existing athletics up to standard and allow more room for their 1,600 students.

And when students aren’t using the Wellness Center during school hours, the doors will remain open for members of the community, Douglas said.

“Mom can do her yoga, dad can be in the weight room, there’s a walking track upstairs, so during non-school hours, they can have access to the facility and use it,” she said. “We’re calling it our Community Wellness Center because we want to be able to bring grandma and grandpa in.”

The Community Wellness Center will also replace the existing weight room, which has been in need of upgrades to be brought up to standard for both male and female athletes, she said. The center will additionally fill the need for outdoor bathroom facilities, such as when the district hosts outdoor sporting events and Special Olympics activities.

School board members discussed the Wellness Center at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday and the possibility of creating a model of the building for the community to see.

Douglas said the school is hoping to solicit help from local contractors and other businesses to help with the cost of the build.

“We’re asking the Alexander community and the business community, which is Athens County, to give back and support this project. It’s not only for the children, but it’s for the Alexander community, the moms, the dads, the alumni, the grandparents to create this, which will be a tremendous asset for our athletics going on,” she said.