For the past three weeks the Chipola gym has been action packed, but not with whistles, drills and games. Instead the gym is filled with blue prints, hard hats and caution tape. The Milton Johnson Health Center is taking on a 1.1 million dollar renovation.
The Legislature allocated funds to improve the facility built in 1975. The gym is considered a staple in the Marianna community but with a leaky roof and worn down floors, Chipola College and their athletes are ready to take the bench for construction. M&W Construction will plan to complete the project in 150 days. Already ceiling tiles have disappeared and now crews are working to replace a leaky roof.
Since 1975 the gym has had one roof replacement and as a result, leaking has caused moldy roof tiles and weak spots in the floor. The 1.1 million dollar renovation will bring a new maple floor, heating and air condition units and centralized chilled water units.
As the project progresses the college may provide additional funding for aesthetic improvements. For the past 18 years Chipola College hosted the state tournament and they recently lost the bid. With new improvements they hope to bring it home.
According to basketball player, Sam Cassell Jr., the improvements will help bring greater talent to the area, "Now when they like new players come for visits they see a new gym they are like, wow, they take basketball seriously here."