Officially open!

RFHS Athletic Director Jay Seibert spoke to the symbolism of what the new Competition Gym should mean for everyone that went through the fight together during Hurricane Harvey.

The Aransas County Independent School District (ACISD) held its grand opening ceremony for the recently completed Competition Gym Tuesday, Nov. 12. The ceremony was held before the Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Lady Pirate basketball teams’ home opener against the San Diego Lady Vaqueros, which resulted in a 40-26 win for RFHS

ACISD Superintendent Jospeh Patek opened with welcoming all guests to the ceremonies and recognized all dignitaries present.

Among the dignitaries present was ACISD Board President Ray Garza, ACISD Board Secretary Michaela Alston, ACISD Trustee’s Kenneth Cruzan, Eli Ramos, and Cindy Robbins, RFHS Athletic Director Jay Seibert, ACISD Director of Operational Services Norman Spears, ACISD Operational Services Coordinator Thomas Lawing, Teal Construction President John Murray and Teal Construction Project Manager Josh Williams, WKMC Architect Bill Wilson, Architect David Brown, Rebecca Macha, Lowe’s representative Jaime Lynch, First Community Bank - Rockport Vice President and Manager Eric Heller, and Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick.

Patek recounted the story of how the idea of building a new competition gym came about, and how it was shelved due to a lack of funds for the project.

He recognized R. Macha for the support of her daughter, Sydney Macha, in writing the letter to the Ellen DeGeneres Show that resulted in the ACISD getting the remainder of the funds needed to pay for the construction of a new gym.

After gaining the approval of the ACISD Board of Trustees, the ACISD selected WKMC Architects to design the project and Teal Construction to build it.

The project was completed in 302 days after breaking ground Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

“This beautiful new gym is a product of a whole lot of teamwork,” said Patek.

Seibert followed Patek and said the Competition Gym will be a symbol to the community, a symbol of its strength, and all of what everyone a part of Rockport-Fulton went through during Hurricane Harvey.

“As an athletic program, as a community, as a school, we need to do everything possible to keep this place as beautiful as it is today, so we can be proud of it for a long time,” said Seibert.

Following ceremonies, the Lady Pirate basketball team capped off the night with a 40-26 victory over San Diego and start the seasons’ defense of its new home court 1-0.

It was also the first game for new RFHS Girls Athletic Coordinator and Girls Head Basketball Coach Mark Malone.

With the team learning and playing in a completely new system, Malone said the girls were slow to get going against San Diego, but turned it on in the end to seal the victory.

“It looked like a new coach and looked like a new system. We’re running a totally different system now,” said Malone. “Some of our volleyball players have only had three practices. But, there was a place in the fourth quarter where it just totally changed; we kept running and running, and they (San Diego) just couldn’t run with us,” said Malone.

Malone was not here when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport-Fulton and was only recently hired in the summer of 2019. Nonetheless, he knows his team is grateful and he himself grateful to be playing in a brand new facility.

“We have a facility that’s second to none to most of the schools we play at, so I think the girls have something to be proud and excited about,” said Malone. “I didn’t experience the hurricane, but I know all those emotions that come up with it, for them, it’s a great situation to see it completed and to just have something to call home.”

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