It looks like it’s going to be a great year for the Rickards Raiders, as they have come close to completing a new sports complex after just about nine months of renovations.
After deciding not to relocate Leon County Schools’ lone south-side high school, the district decided instead to construct new buildings on the same site to give the students new facilities.
The new sports complex has now added a baseball and softball field on campus. The former fields were located around the corner from Rickards at Fairview Middle School, so for the first time in 25 years, the softball and baseball games will now be back on Rickards’ campus.
Principal Douglas Cook, FAMU Hall of Famer, said, “I feel like we will get more teacher and student support because it’s easy to walk down to the ball field, instead of driving to another location.
“Everyone knows that when you work at a place if you can do other things at that place you will probably be more involved. When you have to leave that location you’re more likely to not get involved,” Cook added.
Last Tuesday morning, students and former graduates of Rickards came together for a ribbon cutting at the new facility, with the first pitch thrown by Leon County Schools Superintendent, Rocky Hanna.
Once the two fields are completed, taller nets will be erected around the fields to secure safety for the cars parked in the nearby lots.
“I ran track for Rickards, and as a fresh graduate I wish it would’ve been ready before I graduated. I’m kind of jealous but, I know this is going to be great for the school and the students. Not only is the new sports area a great asset, but it’s also a good look when you’re just passing by. It makes you more anxious to check things out,” said former student Deldrick Graham.
Aside from adding the new complex, the school also has added 20 new classrooms and will soon be adding 22 more to give the students a newer, more modern learning space.
It is safe to say that making the decision to keep the school’s location and to invest in renovation was the better choice. Cook said he did a survey with the alumni and current students, asking if they wanted to relocate or not, and the results came back 85 percent for alumni and 90 percent current students saying they wanted to keep Rickards where it is.