|Artist Rendering of New Floor at CHS Gymnasium|
HELENA-WEST HELENA- In a statement issued today, the Helena-West Helena Booster Club announced its donation of a new wood playing surface to the Helena-West Helena School District's main gymnasium at Central High School, with Southern Bancorp supporting the effort as a community sponsor.
Andrew Bagley, School Board President and Booster Club Secretary, was overjoyed at the announcement saying, "The Cougars have needed a new floor in that gymnasium for many years. The current surface had become a safety issue since it was long past its scheduled life span. This new floor will give the Cougars a first class playing surface that will last for many decades with proper maintenance. It will be very similar to the courts used for the NCAA Tournament. The new surface will also improve the appearance of the facility and enhance CHS's chances of hosting conference and state tournaments."
He continued, "This development would not have been possible if it had not been for Southern Bancorp's sponsorship and for their willingness to finance the remainder of the purchase amount at a very affordable rate to give the Booster Club time to raise the rest of the funds, yet install the floor in time for this basketball season. I have no doubt that this community will aid us in our efforts on this project as it has in the past."
"This is a great opportunity for not only the student athletes at CHS, but also for the community as a whole," said Southern Bancorp Regional CEO Jimbo Boyd. "Southern is a community development bank, and as such we look for investments that create economic opportunity in the communities we serve. Not only will this new floor provide a safer, more reliable playing surface, but it will also serve as a launch point for attracting tournaments, teams and fans – which means more dollars for local businesses. This type of investment has a community-wide impact, and that's why Southern is involved."
HWHSD officials were also ecstatic with the news. Athletic Director Russell Smith said,
"This is a huge step forward for our athletic program. We want to be the best at every sport that we offer. This will place our facility in the upper echelon of the facilities in our conference and with some other cosmetic improvements, we could easily get our facility to one of the top arenas in Class 4A. With 2500 seats and six dressing rooms, we certainly have one of the largest basketball venues in our classification. I appreciate the hard work of our Booster Club board and members who work hard on behalf of Cougar athletics. Our district is thankful that the Booster Club has been able to make this project happen using private funds and we are thankful to Southern Bancorp and our supporters in the business community."
About Southern Bancorp
Southern Bancorp is one of America's largest rural development banks and a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with approximately $1.1 billion in assets, serving over 80,000 customers at 39 branches in both Arkansas and Mississippi. Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. On the web at banksouthern.com & southernpartners.org