Edison showed off its new multipurpose room and wrestling area to the public during an open house this week. The 7,500-square-foot facility can accommodate 24 wrestling practice mats and includes two locker rooms and an office and locker room for coaches.
Chargers wrestling coach Davy Hermes called the facility a “game-changer.”
Casey Barnett, an incoming junior who is one of Edison’s seven state wrestling champions, gave a thumb’s up to his team’s new home.
“All the extra stuff is nice,” he said. “We’ve got bikes, medicine balls, locker rooms, all new showers. It’s huge for our wrestling room.”
The wrestling team used to practice in the balcony above the basketball court. That was not ideal, especially on basketball game nights.
“The balcony was fine, but it was hard to maintain,” Hermes said. “You couldn’t blow whistles or play music. When we’d get done with practice we’d go in they’d be giving a halftime speech.
The basketball coaches were great to work with, but we don’t have to leave this place. It’s an amazing facility. There’s a lot of excitement around the program right now.”
The final price tag for the facility was $520,000 and the entire project was privately funded through donations. Ground was broken at the former parking lot last September and a big part of the process involved volunteers pitching in with labor and material.
“We have a lot of parents in our program that are in different trades,” Hermes said. “We got a million-dollar facility for about a half million.”
Mike Kegarise, whose Precision Paving business is located right up the road from the high school, was manning the grill during the open house. He has three daughters, the oldest of whom just graduated from EHS. He said it’s important for the community to give back to the school.
“I grew up in this town and even when I was little that’s what we saw -— people donating their time,” Kegarise said. “I want to get that sense of community back, whether it’s putting in time or money. Hopefully the kids see us doing this and get the vision I had when I was a kid.”
The facility is the third of four big-ticket projects to be completed at the school. The Firelands Regional Medical Center Fieldhouse — which is used by multiple sports — is three years old and the high school also has a renovated science wing. An auxiliary gym is the fourth and final item on the list.
Edison athletic director Tom Jeffrey was part of the original Edison Community Facilities Team that got the ball rolling several years ago and conducted a needs assessment with coaches and teachers. Also on that committee were Jeff Goodwin, Mark Suhanic, Dan Frederick, Matt Ehrhardt and Kegarise.
“I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period,” Jeffrey said. “We tried to think of everything.”
Some attractive add-ons included a sound system and workout bikes. Jeffrey said the show choir has used the space and it also could be used by cheerleaders. The public restrooms are open during softball games.
The school secured a temporary use permit that allowed the wrestling team to break in the room at the end of last season, and spring sports teams used the new locker rooms. The green light for full occupancy came last month.
“People know we built this four our community and kids,” Jeffrey said. “This space is able to be transitioned for other purposes.”
During the open house, project treasurer Daniel McManus marveled about how the community got behind the project.
“There are a lot of guys here with big toys who have put it together,” he said.