By Johnathan Bentley
Daily Mountain Eagle
Bevill State Community College’s Glen Clem Gymnasium is getting an upgrade.
The school went over the sweeping renovations and released renderings of the Jasper Campus facility during a announcement held on Thursday at the school.
The project is estimated to begin on Sept. 15 and will take approximately a year to complete and will cost $5 million.
“We’ve made a concerted effort here at Bevill State to the different campuses we serve to improve out facilities, which, in turn, attracts athletes,” Bevill State Community College President Joel Hagood said. “It’s long over due. Clem Gym has been around since I think 1964.”
Along with air conditioning — for the first time — and a new entrance, there will now be a two-story area where the stage is currently located. The lower portion will serve as a weight room for the team while the top will include an observation room that could eventually house the school’s Blue Tie Club.
Due to the construction, this year’s basketball team, led by new head coach Billy Conner, will play its home games between Bevill State-Fayette and Jasper High School, when available.
Along with Hagood, state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, state Rep. Matt Woods, R-Jasper, Bevill State Athletic Director Chris Harris and Conner each spoke at the announcement Thursday.
“I’m a product of this campus. I’m a graduate and I went to many a basketball game at Clem Gym. It’s always a privilege to me to do anything to support Bevill State. It makes me proud of what this facility is going to look like. I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Reed said.
“We're excited to see the upgrades and happy to give athletics a first-class facility,” Harris added.
Woods also agreed that the improvements were much needed.
“When I became a member of the Alabama Community College system board of trustees, I had the opportunity to travel and see facilities all over the state. It became evident to me that Bevill State was due an upgrade for their gymnasium,” Woods said. “Thanks to the conservative budgeting of the state and board of trustees in the community college system, we were able to embark on a very ambitious capital program throughout the state to upgrade the facilities at campuses in every college in our system. The renovation of Clem Gym was a priority project for me. It’s important to see this facility restored and modernized.
“This is going to be a great place to come enjoy and support the basketball program in a facility that is on or above par with any basketball gym in the community college system. That’s something we can all be proud of.”