When it was constructed almost 50 years ago, the Cordell Center was considered a modern gym. But, as Boylan explained to the crowd gathered for the groundbreaking, the school has grown tremendously over the years, while the state of Georgia now ranks second in the nation in childhood obesity. “Simply put, our once contemporary center is now antiquated,” he said. “We need to step up our game to give our students the fitness support they so desperately need.”
Nearly 2,000 students in grades six through 12 and the junior college use the existing Cordell Events Center, though it was built in 1964 to serve fewer than 500 students. What was once considered a modern facility is now thoroughly outdated and overcrowded.
With such limited space, junior college students cannot be offered Physical Education classes. GMC is unable to offer any college sports requiring a gym. There is not even space for winter intramural sport. Locker rooms are under-equipped, without private showers and not available for both males and females at the same time, much less visiting teams.
“The center wasn’t designed for weight-lifting equipment so the apparatus we have has to be placed with almost surgical precision over support beams in the floor,” Boylan said.
By the end of 2013, GMC’s new Health and Wellness Center will house six classrooms for health and wellness instruction, an athletic healthcare and training lab, three separate spaces dedicated to weight and cardio training, an elevated track, staff offices and locker rooms to support all the prep school and junior college students and visiting teams.
Phase two of the project will include the addition of a 1,800 square-foot convocation center, as well as additional instruction spaces, physical training spaces and offices to support the instruction.
Beyond the facility itself, GMC is dedicated to the people and programs that will bring wellness to life. As such, they have planned to partner with Oconee Regional Medical Center in a program that will help reduce obesity and obesity-related conditions and improve health and wellness through local programs, technical assistance and training, leadership, surveillance, intervention and development evaluation. They also plan to advance JROTC’s strength and fitness program called Baseline Health Risk Assessments (HRA). HRA also includes nutrition education and training, health fairs and other awareness activities.