Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 8, 2013

Showcase facility — Teamwork brings hoops to Brushfork

The Bluefield High School boys and girls basketball team have a new, and old home, in the Brushfork Armory.

The armory has been dark for hoops games since the 2000-2001 season, the last time the Beaver boys played their games at the facility. Opened in the mid ‘60s, Bluefield played the majority of its home games there from 1965 to 2000.

For the past 12 years the boys have played home games on the non-regulation sized court at Bluefield High School and at Bluefield State’s Ned Shott Gymnasium where both seating and parking were at a premium for many of the crowds the team attracted.

For years there have been many who talked about a return to the armory for the boys team and there was even a bond referendum that failed, proposing the construction of a new regulation-size gymnasium at Bluefield High School.

Years passed and officials at Bluefield State provided a home for the boys team while the girls continued to play at the school.

However, games against schools such as Princeton, Wyoming East, PikeView, Graham, Logan and others had fans turned away at the door because Ned Shott Gym reached capacity.

Through the hard work of officials at Bluefield High School, the Mercer County Board of Education, the West Virginia National Guard and the Hugh I. Shott Jr. Foundation, that dream of basketball returning to Brushfork has become a reality.

It was recently announced that the Shott Foundation took care of the tab for the new court, baskets and scoreboard, a total of $93,255.13. School officials have been assured that the armory will remain open, thus providing a home for the teams into the foreseeable future.

The Shott Foundation has been instrumental to many projects throughout the two Virginias and has provided financial backing to achieve many goals of the Mercer County school system.

The Beavers’ boys team has played three games at the armory this season, two of which filled the facility to capacity and the girls, while not attracting the crowd size of the boys team, have benefited from playing on the new court.

In a recent release, Mercer County School Superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers said, “We want to publicize the foundation’s huge contribution. While I believe the board of education members deserve recognition for their vision and commitment to the project, I also want the community to know that the Shott Foundation stepped forward to underwrite this tremendous facility upgrade.”

Also to be commended for work on the project is assistant superintendent Joe Turner, former principal at Bluefield High School. Turner spearheaded the project, playing a role in obtaining the court and was on-site at times during the installation and painting of the floor.

After a dozen years without a place to call home, the Bluefield Beavers, and now the Lady Beavers, have a showcase facility that is second to none for high school basketball in the state of West Virginia.

The return of basketball at the armory is an example of the teamwork that can be achieved in our community if we all come together and work for the common good.

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