By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Bluefield High School boys basketball team could be called the Nomads. The Beavers do not have a place to call home. The gymnasium at Bluefield High School is not regulation size and for the past 12 seasons scheduling a home game has not been all that easy.
The Brushfork Armory opened in the mid 1960s and from that time until 2000 the Beavers played a majority of their home games at the arena. In 2001 when the local unit of the National Guard was mobilized for the War on Terror, the armory was not available for use.
Eventually the court was sold and Beavers played their games on the short court at the high school, which is 15 feet shy of being regulation size, and at Bluefield State College.
On several occasions games at the Ned Shott Gymnasium on the BSC campus were filled to capacity and fans showing up had to be turned away.
Negotiations are underway for the defending state runners-up to play basketball again at the Brushfork Armory.
“We are working with the people at the armory on the availability for practice and games and that’s the main thing right now. There is no one sticking point,” said Joe Turner, assistant superintendent of schools in Mercer County and former BHS principal.
Turner said this action in no way is a reflection on the relationship between Bluefield High and Bluefield State.
“We’ve heard this is what the people of Bluefield want,” Turner said. “It is nothing against Bluefield State, who has been great to Bluefield High School. It’s just a matter of parking and space that is available at the armory.”
The armory can seat approximately 3,000 for a basketball game and there is plenty of on-site parking.
BHS athletic director Kim Miller stated, “We, the board, are working to negoiate the time for practice and play at the armory. They have also priced floorind and other details necessary to play.”
Turner confirmed Miller’s statement and added that at this point a floor has not been purchased, nor has other necessary equipment including scoreboards.
He further stated that the Board of Education hopes to know something soon, possibly within the next few weeks and that it is not clear at this time whether the Beavers will be able to begin the season at the armory, play sometime during the season, or even next year, but the process is underway to find the team a home.
In years past both Bluefield State College and Bluefield College called the Brushfork Armory home. The facility also hosted games involving Montcalm, Bramwell, Matoaka, Spanishburg and Northfork.
It was the site of sectionaland regional tournaments and the Harlem Globetrotters have appeared on more than one occasion.