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Aransas County ISD approves design for new Ellen DeGeneres-funded gym

Posted at 11:45 AM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 18:43:16-05

In April, Ellen DeGeneres announced on her television show that she was helping donate $1 million to Rockport-Fulton High School. According to district officials, that money will go toward building a new competition gym for the students. The design for the new gym has just been approved.

Hurricane Harvey destroyed two gyms that Aransas County ISD students used. After the storm, the girls volleyball team at Rockport-Fulton High School played out of town or shared their gym with others.


“It’s kind of like volleyball on one half, and basketball on the other,” said Allie Manson, a junior and Rockport-Fulton High School volleyball player. “It’s just kind of hard because we have one gym and a bunch of teams.”

Despite the hardship, the team showed their resiliency on and off the court.

They even drew the attention of TV host, Ellen DeGeneres. In a show aired in April, Ellen says, “It really is the biggest gift we’ve ever given. Today, they’re committing one million dollars to this project.”

That project is to build the new competition gymnasium next to the existing green gym. The new gym will be much larger, just over 17,000 square feet and will seat nearly 1,000 patrons.

“The current competition gym was built in the 1960s, and it’s undersized for our current crowds,” Aransas County ISD Superintendent Joey Patek said.

Also a part of the project, is a large lobby with a concession stand and seating. Although the project remains in the planning stages, the approval of the design is a sign of how much progress the district and community have s made in the last 16 months.

“We’re definitely really excited and I can’t wait to get our gym so we can have a gym for ourselves,” said Molly Frost, a junior and Rockport-Fulton High School volleyball player.

“It brings our community together in a larger venue, a nicer venue,” said Scott Rogers, Rockport-Fulton High School principal. “And it’s really a testament of the rebuilding of the Aransas County area.”

The superintendent tells KRIS 6 the district hopes to break ground on the new gym by mid-January. He also says the new gym should be open to students by next October. .​