The lower-level locker rooms in the Huffman Athletic Center received a facelift during Thanksgiving break thanks to generous donations from members of the Darlington Community.
"The vision for the project started with the desire to improve the experience of our female athletes," said Andrea Bell, who helped spearhead the project along with fellow parent Terri Pierce. "The Huffman Center is a fantastic facility, but great buildings need to evolve. For fall, winter and spring sports, comfortable locker room facilities are extremely important. This dream became an attainable goal when Terri started asking great questions - and she assured me we could cut through a cinder block wall!"
The finished project included renovations to both the girls' and boys' locker rooms as well as new furniture. The girls' locker room was expanded to better utilize available space.
“Our goal was to improve and create a space where our student athletes can focus, relax and mentally prepare for their game," said Pierce. "This renovated space provides an opportunity for our student-athletes to interact, support each other and build stronger relationships. I want to thank our entire Darlington Community for their generous support, and we are especially grateful to Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Hunt and The Budd Group for working tirelessly on this renovation."
The whole school came together to fund the project, which was made possible through Purple Tie contributions allocated by Pre-K to 8 Tiger Pride, Upper School Tiger Pride, and the Athletic Booster Club.
“Pre-K to 8 Tiger Pride is thrilled to help make this dream a reality for our students!" said Jessie Herren, president of Pre-K to 8 Tiger Pride. "Our Raise the Paw Committee met, discussed and unanimously voted to allocate our remaining funds to go toward this effort. We are so excited that middle grades students will get to utilize this new space for their sporting events going forward. Huge thank you to our donors and staff who helped make this happen!”
Kimberly (Murphy) Moseley ('87), president of Upper School Tiger Pride, said that they were happy to contribute some of their funds to support a renovation that impacts so many students. "The locker rooms were in need of renovation, and the Huffman Center needed to have handicap-accessible public restrooms on the first floor for our students and spectators to use," she said. "We chose to help because we are always looking for projects that will help improve our students' experience at Darlington. It was exciting to collaborate with the other parent organizations."
The Athletic Booster Club was also proud to be a supporting partner. "This project shows the love and commitment the Darlington Community has for our athletes, coaches and athletic programs," said Tom Bethel, president of the Athletic Booster Club. "These renovations will be enjoyed by many student-athletes for years to come. Together Everyone Achieves More!"
The students and their coaches were all smiles when the new-and-improved locker rooms were revealed to them on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
"The new locker room defines, 'Good things come to those who wait!'" said Terar Everhart ('13, LD '23), middle school girls' basketball coach and Upper School administrative assistant. "As a former Darlington girls' basketball player who spent many days in the old locker room getting to know my teammates, shedding some tears, and having lots of laughs -- without nice, comfortable seating -- I am grateful to see this generation and the next generation in the middle school program have a place they can go and create great moments with their teams. I think the girls love and are excited to have a space to hang out after the hard work they put in on and off the court."
Head boys' basketball coach Nathan West, who also serves as assistant athletic director, agreed. "I always say that games are won in the locker room," he said. "The more you hang out and are around each other, the more trust and loyalty you develop with your teammates. The new renovations will help us do just that. Our kids were really excited. No more leaving or going home before games. They now have a space they can take ownership of and call their own."
Other spaces, including the upper-level locker rooms, are currently being evaluated for possible future improvements.