James Singleton examines the room from under his helmet, echoes of construction equipment bouncing off the walls of the Macalester Activity Center under construction nearby.
McAlester Public Schools track and field director said he was pleased with the facility’s progress and looked forward to completing the project in the coming months.
“It’s really, really good,” Singleton said. “Currently, as long as they give us the keys, we are well on our way to completion in mid-May.
Voters in the Macalester Public Schools District overwhelmingly approved a $34.9 million bond for the construction of facilities and a new middle school in February 2021. The bond extended two of his previous measures that brought him an 8% tax rate hike in 2019, but no tax hike. Forward.
Work on the facility began in November 2021. The facility is now nearing the final stages of construction for early 2023.
Affectionately referred to as “MAC,” Singleton said the physical education department is already planning next school year’s events at the new facility.
“We should be able to start using it this summer,” he said. “Heading into the fall, he already has his volleyball tournament scheduled for August 25-26.
The format is primarily used for junior high school varsity games, Singleton said, but the site will allow the district to centralize volleyball events, which in recent years have been held at two locations in town.
The MAC will be the primary home of Macalester volleyball, basketball and wrestling locker rooms and coach offices, as well as spaces for the Pride of Macalester band and middle school track and field.
He also said the historic Bob Bramley Gymnasium has gone nowhere and will still be fully used.
“We still have to juggle some things…but Brumley will still be heavily used,” Singleton said. “One thing he wants to find in the new facility is minimize wear and tear while maximizing balance with the facility itself.”
The Bob Bramley Gym is named after former basketball coach McAlester. He began his coaching career with Moss in 1949 and Wetumka the following year before becoming a mainstay of McAlester, posting a record of 423-185 from 1951 to 1977. Played in six state tournaments.
Brumley was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association, Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association All-Star, East Central University, Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and was posthumously inducted into the McAlester Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018 as the first coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Singleton touted the history of the Brumley Gymnasium and said MPS would keep the banner intact — and move the Athletic Hall of Fame to MAC, or possibly have something on both sites.
“We plan to make some banners to put up there,” Singleton says. “With all the success so far, moving everything there would take up wall space, so we want to take advantage of that as well.”
Ultimately, though, Singleton is excited about the opportunities MAC brings not only to the school, but to the surrounding community. And he has spoken with many of his community members about doing more events to bring schools and people to McAlester to bring tourism and business to the hub of southeastern Oklahoma.
“One thing you have to accept here is that we are kind of a travel town. When you take a bus, you usually have to travel[long distances],” Singleton said. says. “But if we’re hosting…we can stay home and our community can come see the kids and support them.
“Having an event like a basketball or volleyball tournament with multiple teams in our community is a big win for everyone,” he said.
Please contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.