When Haddam-Killingworth girls basketball took the floor Wednesday night for its season-opening game against Cromwell, it was not just be the team making its debut.
Haddam-Killingworth just reopened the Patsy Kamercia Field House after major renovations had it closed for the fall season.
“It was a long time coming,” Haddam-Killingworth athletic director Lynne Flint said. “It was finally time to do it and we had the full support of the board of education. The updated field house has given our athletes a sense of excitement. It is an exciting time for all of us in H-K athletics. For a small school to have a space that large is unique.”
Updates to the facility include: A new floor; new basketball hoops and hardware; new batting cages; an overhauled sound system; new bleachers, a new pole-vault pit in the floor and new tinted windows that blocks sunlight from getting into the eyes of athletes during the day.
The refurbished field house opened for teams and physical education classes Jan. 19.
The girls basketball team played its home opener Wednesday against Cromwell and the boys play at home Friday versus North Branford.
Renovating a field house and relocating teams in season is never an easy undertaking, but doing so amid a pandemic made it all the more difficult.
The renovations forced the girls volleyball team to play 11 of their 13 matches on the road, with the only home matches taking place at the H-K Middle School and many of the team’s practices taking place outdoors.
Still, the team won its second Shoreline championship in five years, beating Coginchaug in the semifinals and Hale-Ray in the finals, both at the middle school.
“We started the renovations in April but COVID did damage to the schedule and it was quickly clear it would not be ready for volleyball in the fall. It took extra time to get everything and the project took longer than we hoped it would,” Flint said. “If there was ever a time to do a renovation it was during this time, but it did have a big impact on our volleyball team. They had to practice outside and then at the middle school and had to play almost all their games on the road. It was not easy but the players were so happy just to be playing, I don’t think they minded.”
H-K has the only field house in the Shoreline Conference and the facility is heavily used not just by the school but also the community.
The original field house was opened in the 1970s and named for Kamercia in 2018.
Kamercia died in 2017 after a battle with cancer. She led the H-K field hockey team to a state championship in 2016, her 40th year of coaching. Kamercia was a physical education teacher in the H-K schools and also served as athletic director.