Ridgerunner Athletics Vision of Excellence, or RAVE, has broken ground on phase one, the Grove Weight Room.
The new weight room will feature 18 weight racks and six permanent sets of ladders painted on the ground.
"When we started this foundation back at the beginning of the year, to be at this point where we are at, I don't think any of us thought that this would be possible. None of this would have happened without a lot of folks," said Dr. Tyson Trimble. "We have a lot of very generous folks in this community that care a lot about Grove, they care a lot about Grove Public Schools and they care a lot about Ridgerunner Athletics."
Trimble thanked all of the donors involved with the project for investing in the future of Grove.
Crossland Construction will be building the freestanding building, which will be located behind the current field house. Legend Fitness will be outfitting the building with brand new weight racks. First National Bank is the financial lender on the project.
"I personally want to thank our Superintendent, Pat Dodson and our Athletic Director, Richard Bassett. These two have been instrumental in getting this done and having an amazing vision for our athletic programs," said Trimble.
Bassett is thrilled to see the plans for the new building.
"This is going to affect all of our athletics. I talked to the coaches this morning about how important it is to lift weights. If you go play a college sport, I don't care if it's golf, tennis, football, there is an off season program and an in season program that is built on being stronger. It helps you to prevent injuries and to become a better athlete," said Bassett.
Bassett also believes that weight training steps up an athlete's game.
"It takes an average athlete and gives them a little bit of an edge. It takes a great athlete and just puts them over the top. By having [the weight room] it allows us to incorporate all of our sports and have an opportunity for all of our kids to have a better chance to get better," said Bassett.
The choice for free weights was not lightly made.
"Everyone has their own opinion, but free weights seem to be where everybody is at. More Olympic style lifts, cause it is all about the core, from the chest to the knees. That's where all athletics come from, whether you're swinging the golf club or throwing a ball, it's all between that area. That's what we based it on and we've researched it. We have Dr. Trimble who's on RAVE that can tell you how important it is to build these things up to prevent injury," said Bassett.
As for the future, RAVE has ambitious plans.
"This is just the start," said Trimble. "We're going to build a Ridgerunner Nation and this is the first [project] and then we'll go on to the next and there is no telling where this is going to end."
To learn more about RAVE or to donate, find them on Facebook.