Preliminary plans are in the works, and funding is in the process of being secured for the construction of a new field house on the north end of Wright Field in Roanoke.
The new building would house a locker room for visiting football teams, a locker room for the Handley junior high players and field-level restrooms that could be used by the Handley band.
The pricetag for the proposed building would have a rough estimate of $500,000, according to Roanoke City Schools superintendent Greg Foster, and the hope is to have the building in place by the summer of 2024 ahead of next year’s football season.
Foster said that he is part of group working to secure grant money from state sources that would combine with the school system’s capital improvement funds to pay for the new building.
A visitors’ locker room has long been seen as a needed addition to Wright Field as visiting teams now dress at the Roanoke recreation center and walk that long distance to the field prior to games. The recent renovation of the recreation center and the installation of a new gym floor in that building has led to increased urgency to provide a different location for football players to dress so that they don’t damage the new gym floor with their cleats.
Also the building would provide restrooms and shelter for the Handley band, which practices on the field adjacent to the north end of the football field. Urgency has been added to that need as well after the band was forced to take shelter in other nearby buildings when a thunderstorm rolled in during one of their practices earlier this year.
This new building would give them a place to go in those circumstances and would provide more conveniently located restrooms for the band members to use during games and practices.
The building would be located just off of the access road that runs between the band field and the football field and would replace the fence that currently serves as the entry barrier to the football field on that side (the home side) of the stadium.
The Roanoke City Council discussed the building at Monday’s council meeting and expressed concern about the location. There was some thought that the building would be too close to the area between Wright Field and the little league field where a sink hole opened up many years ago.
When asked about that Tuesday, Foster said the location of the building would be closer to the football field and would not be in danger of being structurally compromised.