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Wildcat athletes and fans now have one spot for activities with the opening of the new Edison Unified Sports Complex.

    Students, parents and community members joined school leaders to celebrate the $12 million facility on May 18, which boasts a new 1,500-seat fieldhouse, a multi-purpose field for football, soccer and track and ballfields for baseball and softball, all within reach at Edison High School campus in Richmond. Leaders said it offered a simple, safe solution for athletes who had to traverse the area to previously attend home games. In the past, the baseball and softball fields were located at Jefferson State Lake near Richmond and track practice and meets as well as junior high basketball practice were held at Stanton Elementary in Hammondsville.

   Wet weather didn’t dampen the festivities as school officials gathered with community leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the fieldhouse as members of the public looked on. Superintendent Bill Beattie summed up the celebration by saying it was a great day to be a Wildcat.

   He thanked school board members, Jefferson County Commissioners, township trustees, Cincinnati-based architectural firm SHP and Canfield-based general contractor Hively Construction, as well as the public for joining together that evening. Beattie praised the contractors and architects for designing and building such a beautiful facility and for everyone who supported the upgrades.

   “This is a grand occasion for all of us, a project that has come to life after two-and-a-half years of continuous work. The school board began developing a vision in November 2019 after the voters approved a 2.1-mill emergency renewal levy to bring together all of our sports facilities to one centralized location and improve other areas of our facilities for our students,” he added. “Now our students can participate in extra-curricular activities without leaving the campus of Edison High School.”

   Beattie highlighted the multi-purpose facility’s use for football and soccer, the fieldhouse which can host volleyball, basketball and wrestling and renovated spaces that benefit the band, choir and VoAg program. More activities will be held as well, with commencement exercises set for the Class of 2022 on May 27 at 7 p.m.

   “This is all because of your public support, and we at Edison are eternally grateful. Again, thank you for being here and celebrating this great day in the Edison Local School District. It’s a great day to be a Wildcat.”

   Board President Aaron Richardson also thanked everyone who was involved in the project and supported the effort. Richardson praised the school board for sharing a unified vision throughout the process, building committee members Ron Smyth and Matt Bordash for working tirelessly on the details of the facilities, Beattie, EHS Principal Matt Morrison and the coaches plus community members who provided feedback and support for the project.

   “The projects that we celebrate today are a physical manifestation of what we are trying to build in our schools here at Edison,” he added. “This board has put an emphasis on safety and culture. By completing these facilities, we have provided a centralized location for our sports programs and given our students something to take pride in.”

   Smyth and Bordash noted their pleasure in seeing the fruits of their labor come to fruition.

   “To me, it’s a dream that’s been decades in the making,” said Smyth. “Now we have a beautiful facility.”

   “It’s fantastic,” added Bordash. “It’s hard to believe we’re finally at the finish line. It’s exciting to have something that’s new and something that’s current.”

   The EHS Marching Band and Choir set the tone for the occasion with performances of the National Anthem and alma mater, then the public was free to tour the complex following the ceremony. Many the fieldhouse with its new basketball court, bleachers, locker rooms, trainer’s room, conference and classrooms and a nearly completed second-floor rubberized track; the multi-purpose facility that includes new turf for football and soccer games, a track that has already been put to use and a new grandstand; softball and baseball fields for spring sports; and renovated sites with high-tech lighting and sound in the auditorium, a makeover in the band room and a shop area for the VoAg students. Attendants also had a chance to enter a drawing and win prizes including season passes to all Edison events for a full year and $25 gift cards to Jack’s Pizza in Richmond.

   Students, parents and coaches shared their delight in seeing the new complex finally open.

   “I like that it’s new,” said seventh-grader Lillyan Montgomery, who plans to play volleyball and softball at the site.

   “I’m excited to play here,” added seventh-grader Kayla Koehnlein. “I like that it’s new and in one place.”

   “It’s nice to have everything in one place,” added parent Sarah Koehnlein.

   Basketball coaches Jeremy Matics and Mark Smyth said they were eager to begin their season on the courts this fall.

   “We are really excited and really happy that the administration and board did this,” said boys’ coach Jeremy Matics.

    “It’s beautiful,” added girls’ coach Mark Smyth. “We’re lucky to have an athletically minded board that supports this.”

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