By Luke Strickland – Clayton Daily News
RIVERDALE — After two years of construction, Riverdale High School has a brand new, $13.3 million gymnasium that will open for the start of the upcoming basketball season.
The gym was unanimously approved by the Clayton County Board of Education in October of 2015. The Clayton County BOE held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon at Riverdale High to celebrate the opening of the gym.
Riverdale’s new facility is the biggest competitive gymnasium in the county with a capacity of 2,300 persons. It will replace the old gymnasium that was built in 1977. The former gym will act as an auxiliary gym, which will allow for more physical education class space and more space for various sports, clubs and other organizations.
Riverdale head basketball coach Derick Powell said he believes the new facility could help take his program to the next level.
“It’s absolutely an exciting time,” Powell said. “We did enjoy some success on the court last year and we’ve been battling old facilities for quite awhile. It’s definitely great for our program to get a new facility, it’s great for the community, for the kids and the school as a whole to have something to be proud of.
“As far as our program, it’s definitely going to be attractive to younger kids coming in,” he continued. “Hopefully it will motivate the kids to work hard and be attractive to people in the other surrounding counties to come in and see games and tournaments and whatever we host in a state-of-the-art facility.”
The facility will allow Riverdale the opportunity to host tournaments and other sporting events that they couldn’t in the previous gym. The Region 3-AAAAA boys and girls basketball tournaments are already scheduled at Riverdale at the end of the 2017-18 regular season.