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SYCC Executive Director Debora Brockleman addresses the SYCC Board at its Jan. 4 meeting. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

As Upshur Schools’ sports category changes, Stockert director says finding gym space has become even more difficult

BUCKHANNON – The Stockert Youth and Community Center director expressed concerns about the facility’s increasingly urgent need for its own gym after being denied access to the high school and middle school at the start of basketball season.

SYCC Executive Director Debora Brockleman gave a department report during the Jan. 4 meeting of the Stockert Board, during which she emphasized how popular their basketball program is but said the entity lacked dedicated facilities to keep things running smoothly.

“Since our last meeting, we have had basketball practices start; we’ll have our first games on Saturday, and we have 325 players in our program,” Brockleman said. “We have several teams practicing at Stockert, but most are practicing at their schools, and once again, we are at the mercy of the high school and middle school for their gyms. We have very limited, very limited gym time.”

She said they have been mostly confined to the auxiliary gym at the high school, which they are grateful for, but it doesn’t have seating or as much room.

“We need a facility for our programs,” Brockleman said. “Just as of today, I got four hours at the Wesleyan gym, so that’s four hours, and we need 14 hours.”

“I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but we need our own facility to have adequate programs,” she added, referencing the Stockert multipurpose building addition.

Brockleman said she had to arrange four big schedule adjustments because of changes at the high school.

“They’re having more games on Saturdays at the high school level, and we are using our little Stockert gym for the second and third grade, but when we used the high school, we would have everybody up there, which made staffing a lot easier,” Brockleman said. “Now, we have it spread out so much that we have a skeleton crew of referees and scorekeepers trying to make it happen.”

SYCC board member Tammy Samples said it has gotten more complicated following the high school’s new classification as an AAAA school.

“I am afraid that as we move into this new categorization, we will most likely go farther and farther away,” Samples said. “We’re going to probably see more weekend games because of the travel time required to play enough teams.”

Brockleman said Stockert staff would continue to keep “making it happen,” but they are looking forward to having their own space.

“We’re making it happen; it’s just been a little bit more difficult this year than in the past,” Brockleman said. “It hasn’t ever been easy, but they don’t have an athletic director [currently], so sometimes I’m talking to different people.”

According to an agenda for the Jan. 16, 2024, Upshur County Board of Education meeting, B-UHS business teacher Keith Nichols has been hired as athletic director/assistant principal with the effective date listed as ‘to be determined.’

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