New $11M Cleveland Raider Arena is weeks away from completion - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New $11M Cleveland Raider Arena is weeks away from completion

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Students at Cleveland High School are getting ready for the new Raider Arena. School officials say they're close to opening the $11 million facility to the public.

Last time we checked over the summer, the gym was slated to open by February 28. School officials say the gym is now over 80% complete, and will be ready to open in Early Spring.

Crews were busy sanding the new gym floor on Thursday.

"We're down to just the final paintings and putting on the final touches," said Martin Ringstaff, Superintendent of Cleveland City Schools.

The facility will be able to seat 2,700 people. That's over a thousand additional seats than the old Raider Dome, which was torn down in 2014 after structural concerns.

Built around the gym are several new classrooms, an indoor track and a community room.

"It's built for Cleveland High School, physical education classes and basketball, of course, but we'll be able to do all kinds of things in here," Ringstaff said.

"We tried to pay attention to really specific details that could assist in events or camps, things like that, so that we could use this for the community," Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O'Bryan explained.

According to Ringstaff, the school has already received interest from groups wanting to host large community events and banquets. New sports camps and tournaments will also come with the new facility.

The court can expand to fit several volleyball nets and up to nine wrestling mats.

"We talked to parents, we talked to community members, student panels. We talked to coaches. We talked to teachers. We brought our middle school coaches over here. We really wanted to build a building that would work for a lot of different things," O'Bryan explained.

The new arena will bring people from across the region to Cleveland. Plans are in the works for booking athletic tournaments in fall and winter of this year.

"We think we've built one of the nicest gyms in Tennessee," Ringstaff said. "We know between Knoxville and Atlanta, we can compete with anyone now."

All construction is expected to finish in March. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for April 5, and graduation will be held inside the new facility in May.

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