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BCC community center takes shape

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SUPPLY—The construction of the athletic and aquatic center at Brunswick Community College has progressed so far you can almost hear children splashing in one of the two pools and see men and women exercising in the aerobics studios. You can imagine basketball players dunking basketballs in the gym and smell the pizza being sold at the concession stand.

The pools have yet to be filled with water, and there is no hardwood on the floor or basketball rims in the gym—but anyone who sees the inside of the center knows it is just a matter of time before everything becomes a reality.

John S. Clark Co. is building the center, and John Sawyer Architects and Clark Patterson Associates are the designers of the $10.6 million center.

“This is a facility where we can do our classes and our athletic events,” BCC president Stephen Greiner said, “but for all the residents of Brunswick County it’s an opportunity for them to have a recreational and fitness facility for their own personal use.

“With the two indoor swimming pools, gymnasium, aerobics studios, the fitness and training room, it is a wonderful (facility) for everyone in the county, regardless of their age, to participate in health and wellness (activities).”

The facility is scheduled to be completed by Feb. 16, Greiner said, and by all appearances from a tour on July 17, that date has an excellent chance of being met.

“There is not a facility like this in Brunswick County,” he said. “When our trustees planned this facility, they built it for community use. From the beginning, their goal was to have a facility for everyone in the community.”

For BCC men’s basketball coach Walter Shaw, a home court that truly is a home court is one the final goals he has for a basketball program he helped build. Next season will be his 12th at BCC, and he has been head coach for nine of those years. His teams have had five 20-victory seasons in the last six seasons, and BBC has won two regular-season titles and one tournament championship. Last season BCC was 28-5, won the regular season title and was second in the conference tournament.

“We are the only non-scholarship program in the conference,” Shaw said. “It’s good now to be able to be at least on even par (with the other programs). Now that we have a nice, new facility, this kind of puts us with everybody else, to a certain degree. It should help with recruiting. The school kind of sells itself, now we have another piece to add to the selling point.”

BCC will be the host of the region tournament in 2009, and this will be the first time the conference tournament champion will get an automatic bid to the national tournament.

And that is the next goal for Shaw and his BCC program.

“So not only do we host the tournament,” Shaw said, “we host the tournament with the nationals on the line. And a North Carolina community college has never made the national Division I tournament. That’s been my goal since I’ve been here. My goal is to be the first North Carolina community college to play in the Division I junior college national tournament. And all the cards are starting to line up.

“Things still have to happen. But to be able to host it in your facility—which is a new facility which people are going to want to come see—and to have that on the line, is a big thing.”

MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at sports@brunswickbeacon.com.