The two benefactors for the new John Marshall Mid-High School Athletic training complex revealed architect’s renderings Wednesday and announced it will be named after a loyal years-long volunteer, Terry Harris.
Preferring action over words, Harris did say, “It’s an exciting time for John Marshall.”
He has done a wide range of volunteer work for the athletic program and the school ranging from taking photos of the team to making sandwiches for the players between the end of the school day and the beginning of practice.
The Terry Harris Athletic Complex will be on the campus of the Oklahoma City Public Schools mid-high near NW 122nd Street and Hefner Parkway.
Bob West and Ken Davidson, both John Marshall alumni from the years when the school was in the original building near Britton, are donating over $900,000 to make sure the facility is paid for when it open about a month after school starts in 2018.
They described the leadership of the Principal, Dr. Aspasia Carlson, and Coach Rashaun Woods as “premiere in Oklahoma City” and one of the main reasons for their confidence in donating the facility to Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Excavation for the foundation is already evident on the grounds.
Football Coach Rashaun Woods and five players from the defending 3-A Football team were a part of the news conference at the school Wednesday.
We asked Davidson about the reasons he and West had so much confidence in the school that they would write a check for close to $1 million to build the new facility.
“Confidence begins with leadership,” Davidson said. “And, certainly the leadership we have here at John Marshall, starting with Dr. Carlson, is premiere in Oklahoma City.”
When we talked with the two after the announcement they both praised Coach Rashaun Woods and Principal Aspasia Carlson for their leadership in developing higher expectations and accomplishments at the school.
“We are very fortunate to have Coach Woods and Dr. Carlson,” Davidson said.
“Ken [Davidson] and I both have built businesses and know what it takes,” West told Free Press. “We see some great bones in this place and want to help it continue to grow.”
“We are impressed with Coach Rashaun Woods and his leadership of this team,” West said. “He’s got the discipline that these young people need.”
West’s father was the original principal of John Marshall High School and is encouraged by the level of leadership he has seen developing in recent years after the school was moved to the new facility.
It was one of the MAPS projects funded by a penny sales tax Oklahoma City residents voted to place on themselves.
Sends a message
Carlson talked with Free Press about what the project represents.
“Students know that if they had not been improving both academically and athletically, we would not be getting this,” she said.
“The fact that they are willing to donate and invest in John Marshall at this level sends a message to students, teachers, and the community about the importance of students being motivated and inspired,” Carlson said.
“Students will work harder when they are involved in a program that means a lot to them. We see that all the time.”
John Marshall is one of four schools in OKCPS with “enterprise school” status meaning that they have some independence on decision-making as a school, have an advisory board, reach out to the community for support, but are directly engaged in the district’s curriculum and finances.
Coach Woods told us after the presentation that every summer they had to move a lot of their strength and conditioning equipment outside just to have enough room because the current training room was too small.
He said other girls’ and boys sports coaches had to work out a schedule for boys and girls teams to take turns in the single training room as the school year moved along.
The new facility will be for boys sports and the original room will be converted to a training facility to meet the needs of the girls’ sports.
The expansion will allow boys and girls to train at the same time, especially useful as most high school sports schedules overlap as the school year progresses.
Once built, the complex will include a weight room, showers, restrooms, video room, coaches’ offices, equipment room, trophy room and restroom access from outside.