Shorecrest's $5 million athletic center is scheduled to be completed in early October and is the latest state-of-the-art facility that has been built among area private schools in an effort to maintain -- and boost -- enrollment.
Crisp Gymnasium, which housed Shorecrest's volleyball and basketball teams for 38 years, was torn down in March. Construction on the new facility started soon after. The building had been in the works for years and was part of a 10-month campaign effort.
The lobby includes a lit lightning bolt at the top of the ceiling that will be visible from First Street North in St. Petersburg during games. There are two courts, one for competitive games and the other for recreational activities. In addition, there are six locker rooms, including one each for men's and women's referees. The competitive court has a top-notch sound system and is wide enough to hold two volleyball games at the same time if a tournament is held.
The upgrade was needed because the school offers 19 sports at the lower, middle and high school levels. Athletic director Tripp Welbourne said the school hosted 276 home games in all sports last year.
"Now we can hold games and practice or two events at the same time," Welbourne said.
Plans are in the works to add an additional level for cardio training and a wrestling room. Once completed, the building will cost $7 million.