OAK RIDGE â€“ Oak Ridge Military Academy recently received a site plan approval for a gymnasium and athletic training facility. Velocity Sports Performance, the largest sports performance training company in the nation, plans to construct a 33,369-sq.-ft. facility on the site, which it will own and operate via a land-lease arrangement with the academy. Athletic training will be provided to academy students, and plans are also in the works to make the facility available to the community on a fee basis.
The climate-controlled facility will include two basketball arenas, a volleyball court, and an indoor athletic turf field for football, soccer, and drill team practices. In the event of rain, it will even be large enough to hold indoor parades, a common activity for academy cadets.
â€œIf you consider an opportunity to create a facility like this inside the academy, it creates a lot of excitement,â€ says Mike Mebane, chairman of the academyâ€™s Board of Trustees.
Cuyler McKnight, who has served as the academyâ€™s president since last November, says the facility will reflect a shared vision for the academy which has been renewed by staff and the Board of Trustees in the last year â€“ that is to educate the â€œwhole personâ€ on the foundation of three pillars: leadership, academics and athletics.
â€œFor a person to be successful, they have to bridge all those gaps,â€ says McKnight. â€œI am determined to make sure we have the best quality in all those areas, and that those three pillars are solid.â€
McKnight believes the academy will be the first high school in the United States to have Velocity operating a facility on its campus. Heâ€™s excited about the opportunity that the facility will offer to students and the community, and that it will be made available without the academy outlaying any cash.
â€œThe community has helped us in the last 12 months through donations, physical labor, and other shows of support,â€ says McKnight, referencing the community response when the academyâ€™s financial and leadership struggles became widely known last year. â€œOur commitment is to make sure we have a facility that the community can use as well. We want a relationship that is fruitful and useful for the school and community together. Neither one can do without the other. This will be a chance for the community to come onto the campus and use those facilities.â€
A meeting was scheduled for Sept. 8, in which more details were expected to be ironed out between Velocity and the academy as to the arrangements for facility usage, timeframe, etc.
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