Initial site work could begin as soon as November on a new basketball and volleyball arena at Brookland-Cayce High School that could play host to upcoming NCAA tournament practice events.
The $10.5 million arena, with seating for 1,500, also will include a weight room, locker rooms, training room and a multi-use space with a hall of fame wall and instruction area. It will be built next to the stadium on Knox Abbott Drive.
Brookland-Cayce’s gym now is more than 40 years old.
“The current gym is not big enough for us to get our entire student body in, and we have to limit the amount of fans at our bigger events due to lack of seating capacity,” principal Gregg Morton said, noting the school has not been able to host state playoffs because of those seating limits.
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The arena is expected to be completed in early 2019 -- making it an ideal practice option for teams coming that March to Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena for the NCAA men’s tournament. That’s something Morton hopes will become a reality.
“Hosting an NCAA practice event would be a great opportunity to showcase our facilities as well as our community on a national level,” Morton said. “It would also be an opportunity for our students and community to be directly involved in the NCAA tournament.”
The Brookland-Cayce arena is part of a $225 million package of school improvements approved by voters in 2014. Planning for the final phase is under way on the project, which includes upgrades to all 16 schools serving more than 8,800 students in Cayce, Pine Ridge, South Congaree, Springdale and West Columbia. All work is projected to be finished by late 2019, roughly a year ahead of schedule, according to Don Icenhower, Lexington Two's chief operations officer.
Brookland-Cayce students, faculty and coaches are “very excited” about the new arena, Morton said, a welcome addition for the growing Cayce area community.
“The Bearcat family has been looking forward to this great addition for some time and can't wait to get in it,” Morton said. “All of our students will benefit.”