Prep Sports: Willmar, NLS sports get upgrades
The 2017-18 preps sports season will have a different, more aesthetically-pleasing look in Willmar and New London.
As summer break wraps up, both schools' athletic facility renovation projects are nearing completion for use in the upcoming athletic seasons.
What Willmar athletics director Ryan Blahosky calls "probably the crown jewel" of the upgrades to the school's athletic facilities is a new gymnasium floor. The new court features a gray floor between the three-point arc and the bright-red painted area, as well as a larger Cardinals logo at midcourt.
Elsewhere at the school, the swimming pool is undergoing changes that will hopefully be in place for the upcoming seasons. The most notable upgrades include new starting blocks and lane lines.
Additionally, the Cardinals' upgraded, larger weight room and auxiliary gym are nearing completion and expected to be finished before the beginning of the school year.
The weight room is about twice the size of the previous one, while the new gymnasium will host the Willmar gymnastics team that previously needed 45 minutes for both set-up and take-down of equipment at its Kennedy Elementary home.
At New London-Spicer High School, most noticeably new is the turf football field and encompassing running track located to the southwest side of the school. While the track is expected to be laid in the upcoming weeks, the football field is ready for the first day of practice on Aug. 14.
There are significant changes taking effect as a part of the district's $21.6 million referendum passed in November 2015. The Wildcats gymnastics team now has a home at the high school, as half of a new gymnasium will be dedicated to the team while in-season. The gym, currently in progress, is located near the older gym, which will feature more seating and still host varsity basketball.