East Central Community College officially opened its new Warrior Hall football operations center with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, March 5, on the campus in Decatur.
The 12,300-square-foot facility is located just outside the north end zone of Warrior Field at Bailey Stadium.
Dozens of current and former Warrior football players; individuals, families, and organizations that made contributions to the facility; and members of the campus and local communities gathered for the event and tours of the new building.
The ceremony included remarks by ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart, Board Chairman Dr. Jimmy Hollingsworth, Head Football Coach Ken Karcher, and Director of Athletics Paul Nixon in the Thomas E. Hannah and Ray E. Hannah Team Meeting Room, followed by the ribbon cutting and self-guided tours. Freshman kicking specialist Robens Beauplan gave the invocation. A product of Riverdale High School in Lehigh Acres, Fla., Beauplan was an MACJC All-State punter and kicker and NJCAA All-American punter last season.
Warrior Hall contains locker rooms for players and for coaches, a team meeting room, position conference rooms, coaches' offices, an equipment room, a players' lounge, and a laundry room. It also houses a state-of-the-art training room with hydrotherapy pool to be used by student-athletes in all nine varsity sports at the college.
"This afternoon we celebrate the completion and official opening of the college's newest facility, Warrior Hall," said Stewart. "Today marks a special day in the history of our institution as we celebrate progress on our 2020 Vision strategic plan. Not only does this facility represent progress, it represents what the EC Way—Excellence with Class—is all about. This is a facility we can all be proud of. I pray it will catch the eye of many potential student-athletes whose lives will be eternally changed because of the time spent here at East Central."
Stewart also thanked those that made financial and other contributions to the new building.
"Completion of Warrior Hall would not have been possible without the generosity of so many people in the Warrior Family," said Stewart. "Contributions to this project represent the largest amount of private donations to a construction project in the history of our college. We are very proud of that."
Offices, conference rooms, meeting rooms, the Hall of Champions, the locker room and individual lockers, the equipment room, the training room, the hydrotherapy pool, the coaches' locker room, and the main team meeting room and the chairs in that room were among the items in Warrior Hall sponsored by donors.
Karcher told those gathered that Warrior Hall will help the East Central football program attract and prepare young men for life outside of football.
"Seven years ago, Dr. Stewart and Chris Harris [retired director of athletics] gave me the opportunity to become the head football coach at East Central Community College and to be a part of the 2020 Vision," Karcher said. "Together, we committed to building a first-class, well-respected, and highly-competition football program. Over the past seven years, the Warrior football story has touched many lives on and off the field.
"I want you to know as your head football coach that the investment that you have made in Warrior Hall will help us take our next steps in attracting and preparing young men to impact the world."
The architect for Warrior Hall was Eley Guild Hardy Architects of Biloxi. The contractor was J&J Contractors Inc. of Collinsville.
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East Central Community College