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Stratford — The Stratford High School gymnasium is currently undergoing a much-needed facelift. But the job is expected to continue throughout the 2013-14 season.
But never fear. The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will feel right at home in the dome.
East Central University has agreed to let the Stratford teams use the Kerr Activities Center — home of ECU’s basketball squads — as the Bulldogs’ home away from home this year.
“The kids are really looking forward to playing in the Kerr Dome this year,” Stratford girls coach Jason Fulks said. “Since our gym won’t be ready, this will make the seniors’ year special even though they won’t be playing in their home gym.”
Stratford officials were hoping the gym renovations would be completed in time to at least host a few games in 2014, but Mother Nature refused to cooperate.
“The rains that we have had since February have gotten the completion date behind,” Fulks said.
The Lady Bulldogs have even had to scramble to find a place to practice.
“Right now we are practicing at the Free Will Baptist church and the boys are practicing in the old gym every day,” he said.
Stratford will play seven games inside the Kerr Center beginning with a Dec. 16 matchup with Thackerville. January home dates include the 14th against Dibble, the 17th against Maysville, the 21st against Lexington and the 24th against old rival Vanoss. On Feb. 7 Stratford will host Dibble and round out the home schedule with a Feb. 8 date with Velma-Alma.
“The other teams that we are playing are really looking forward to playing in the ECU Kerr Dome too,” Fulks said.
East Central athletic director Jeff Williams said he was glad an agreement could be reached to help Stratford out of a tough situation.
“I was excited for Stratford when Michael Blackburn and Jason Fulks told me about their facility renovation project. Every school faces challenges with facility renovations, which almost always displace the users for a time,” Williams said. “I am proud we are in a position to help Stratford give their players, fans and community a place to call home this upcoming season. Community engagement is a critical component of the ECU mission. I view this collaboration as a way Tiger athletics contributes to fulfilling our institutional mission.”
Fulks, an ECU graduate, said he and his school are thankful East Central came to the rescue.
“I really want to thank Jeff Williams and ECU for letting us play in the Kerr Dome,” Fulks said. “ECU has went above and beyond to help us out in this time of need. This shows the character of the people that are leading ECU. Its going to be a great situation for all that is involved.”