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The Suburbanite
  • New facilities at Springfield opportunity to honor alumni

  • Springfield High School will be doing more than simply moving into a brand-new building in a little over a year and a half.


    It will also be moving into a brand-new era, one that rockets the school well into the 21st century and maybe even beyond.

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  • Springfield High School will be doing more than simply moving into a brand-new building in a little over a year and a half.
    It will also be moving into a brand-new era, one that rockets the school well into the 21st century and maybe even beyond.
    But in doing so, school officials are set to do everything they can to remember the long, long – and storied – era they’ll be leaving behind.
    Part of that effort is the opportunity, if officials so desire, to name their new athletic facilities in honor of great Spartans of the past, from Russ Pastuck to Ray Fowler to everybody in between. With new baseball and softball fields, a basketball gym and a field house being built, a lot of worthy people can be considered.
    “It’s been in the backs of everyone’s minds here, to name these new facilities for something or someone that had an impact on Springfield, the schools and the community,” said Springfield Athletic Director Kevin Vaughn, who has an appreciation of such with the fact his father, Ken, coached the Spartans boys basketball team at one time.
    “And while there are a lot of good ideas out there, nothing is set in concrete yet. That’s fine, because we’ve got a lot of time left to make those decisions.”
    Indeed, the school, being built next to the current school at the intersection of Canton and Sanitarium roads, isn’t set to open until late summer of 2013, at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
    So far, so good with that plan for the $42 million project, 25 percent, or $10.5 million, of which is being funded by the state.
    “We’re right on schedule with the construction from what I’ve been told – or really, right back on schedule,” Vaughn said. “Because we had such a wet, rainy summer and fall, it slowed things down. But since the winter has been so mild, those crews have been able to catch up to where they should be.”
    The finished product can’t be ready soon enough, for while the current school – and in particular, the current athletic facilities – emit reams of history in every nook and cranny, every crack, every mark on the wall, they have outlasted their practical usefulness. As such, the school – and the residents of the community – are eager to see the new digs.
    The old gym, referred to as the Central Gym, dates back to 1931, six years before the Ohio High School Athletic Association abolished the rule whereby there was a jump ball – yes, that’s right, a jump ball -- after every made shot in basketball, making for final scores that are equal to today’s first-quarter scores.
    “If my math is correct, it’s 81 years old, but we still use that gym for wrestling practice,” Vaughn said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The “newer” gym – the one that’s still being used for boys and girls basketball games, girls volleyball matches and wrestling matches, among other competitions -- was built in 1953.
    It seemed spacious at the time, like the room in all those cars with the big V-8 engines that cruised up and down Canton Road when it was still State Route 8. The seating capacity of 850 made it one of the biggest school gyms in the area.
    But a lot has changed in the 59 years since.
    “We have only three feet behind the baskets,” Vaughn said. “If you’re taking the ball out of bounds back there in a basketball game, you can’t throw a baseball pass because when you wind up, you’ll hit the wall.
    “The capacity of the new gym will be a little bigger, at 1,000, but the gym overall will be much, much bigger in that we’ll have a lot more room everywhere.”
    Just talking about things such as these makes the tone of Vaughn’s voice louder, stronger and faster.
    “This is an exciting time here,” he said. “To watch those new walls go up is special. There are just many good things going on.
    “A lot of people have put in a lot of time to see this project come to pass, and now that you can start to see a little light at the end of that tunnel, it drives home the fact that it’s really happening.”
    Things will get even more exciting when the really fun stuff begins such as mulling over, and eventually coming up with, the names that will be put onto all these athletic facilities. It’s a task that everyone involved is looking forward to with much anticipation.
    Springfield sports has gotten to this point because of all these iconic individuals, so it’s only fitting that they – their memories, legacies and contributions, and everything else about them – be right there watching every move as the Spartans go forward from here over the next 59 years, 81 years or whatever.