More than a year after the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, Rockport-Fulton High School is a step closer to having a brand new gym — thanks to some help from The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
After nine months of research and planning, there was a groundbreaking for the new gym on Wednesday. Last April, KRIS 6 News was given exclusive access behind the scenes as the talk show host announced a $1 million donation to help rebuild the structure after it was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. DeGeneres partnered with Lowe’s to fund the project.
The donation was possible because of a letter from the daughter of former RFHS teacher Becky Macha. She came home for a visit from college and saw the destruction firsthand.
“I don’t know how many she wrote. She kept at it and then Ellen responded. The people from the Ellen Show responded,” Becky Macha said. “And so then the ball got rolling and it is amazing that it’s happening now.”
The new structure will give Rockport-Fulton an updated competition gym, something that Aransas County ISD superintendent Joey Patek says the district desperately needed. The current high school gym, known as the Green Gym, was built in the 1960’s.
“It only seats about 600 people and for years, our basketball games have brought in much bigger crowds and a lot of times they’d just be standing. It’s…not a very comfortable setting for a basketball game,” Patek told KRIS 6 News.
The new White Gym will seat close to a thousand people and give these student-athletes a new home to practice and play. It will come at a very reasonable cost to the district because of that generous donation from the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Patek explained, “The bottom line was our school district only has to put $100,000 into this brand new gym. It’s just exciting. It’s just a good thing for our community in the Rockport and Fulton area.”
The new gym is scheduled to open in September.