Columbia Independent School opens first-ever athletic center

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Independent School has a new athletic center; the first one the school has ever had.

The project began in March and the school recieved it's occupancy permit last week.

Before the gymnasium opened, CIS Head of School Adam Dubé said students had to commute to other parts of town to use other schools' gyms.

"We were down on Stephens campus and we used Stephens campus gymnasiums," Dubé said. "And we rented gym space."

Abigail Reardon, a CIS eighth grader and girls basketball player, said the new gym is really exciting.

“When we have away games, the home team always seems to run the court since they have the advantage," Reardon said. "Now we will now have our chance and can set our own routine."

Dubé said the entire gymnasium was paid for through charitable donations from Columbia residents.

"We are so grateful for the community of Columbia and how supportive people are in Columbia of education." Dubé said. 

CIS Director of Advancement Bridgid Magee Kinney said she is excited to expand the school's athletic offerings.

"We are so thrilled about this addition to our school," Kinney said.  "To experience our first home games, and see our CIS community gather and support our students on their own court is truly a dream come true."

Dubé said the new gymnasium will be really helpful during the winter months.

"We go outside a lot for P.E.," Dubé said. "But in the middle of the winter on a cold day like the way it's been the past few days, it's been really hard to go outside, so it's nice to have a gym space."

Dubé said it is great that the school will now be able to host home games.

"For the last few years since we’ve been in this space pretty much every game that we’ve done has been an away game."  Dubé said. 

The school hosted it's first-ever home basketball game in the new gymnasium Monday night.