Hancock High School took the first step in completing the next phase of athletic improvements when school officials ceremoniously broke ground for the Hancock Hawks Football Fieldhouse on Saturday, August 10th in the searing heat of South Mississippi with throngs of supporters looking on.
Hancock Athletic Director Jamie Sisco commented, "We have outgrown the current fieldhouse and with the advances of the sport, both in preparation and technology, this improvement is most needed. Football is a completely different sport than 1990 when the current facility was built. It has been a facility that has served us well and seen its share of accomplishment and challenge. But, it is time to take this next step that has been in the planning stages for quite some time. We are extremely thrilled to get this phase moving so that we can continue our facilities upgrades across the board for all sports."
Sisco thanked the numerous district officials present to mark the momentous occasion including Hancock County School Board members Tammy Garber, Richard Loper, Billy Thomas and Danita Holliday, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rick Saucier, Board Attorney Mark Alexander and Hancock High School principal Tara Ladner. He also recognized the support from elected officials present State Senator Phillip Moran and Diamondhead City Councilman Alan Moran. Sisco acknowledged the support and patience of his football coaching staff including head coach Neil Lollar, Andy Perniciaro, Shawn Feazell, Jeff Hopgood, Taylor Lafontaine, Jared Underwood, Teddy Morris, Tracy Rogers, Jack Donovan, Vincent Handy, Joe Vitalec, and Anthony Lusco.
Also present at the groundbreaking were representatives of project contractor JW Puckett, Brad Patano and Brad Jones of architectural and engineering firm Machado Patano.
Sisco added, "This has been a group effort top to bottom throughout the district. Our administration has been completely supportive of the vision and our coaching staff has been very patient and supportive through the design phases. Now, we are excited to see this time and effort come to fruition."
The fieldhouse will be a state of the art 10,000 square foot facility that will include a locker room and shower facility for varsity football, the weight room, coaches offices and showers, a multi-purpose training facility and two classroom for film study, game preparation and meetings.
Hancock head coach Neil Lollar stated, "This is a greatly needed facility. The current facility is built for 70 lockers for 10th through 12th grade and we currently have 90 players. So, some players are doubling up. This facility will have a capacity of 95 lockers for varsity. We are maxed out right now. The training facility is something that we desperately need so that our trainers can work with our athletes to get them the care they need in a facility conducive to that. We are excited for what the future holds for this facility and the school community."
The fieldhouse is being funded through the most recent bond issue passed by voters in March and is part of several phases of construction and improvements across the district.
This fieldhouse follows improvements to the football/soccer field that brought in an artificial surface, improvements to the grandstand, press box, restroom facilities and concession stand at the baseball complex, and a hitting facility at the softball field. Future improvements include but are not limited to a redesigned entrance and concession area for the stadium, a redesigned entrance, concession area and lobby for the gymnasium, and a redesign of middle school athletic facilities.
Sisco ended, "We work for a truly spectacular district and are led by outstanding individuals who see the need for all our students in all our activities. This is a plan for improvement of our athletic facilities so that all sports are affected by these upgrades in some form or fashion."
Construction is set to begin in the near future for the fieldhouse and is expected to be completed for the 2020 season.