Echoes of applause could be heard outside Rejoice Christian School during a special ceremony last week.
Several school staff, city officials and other community leaders attended a ribbon cutting and dedication of the campus’s newly constructed Gibbs Field House facility Wednesday, July 21.
The $5.3 million athletic building, located just south of the Eagles’ football field next to U.S. 169, offers about 50,000 additional square feet of space for the district’s athletics department to use for various activities and events throughout the school year.
Rejoice, under the direction of Superintendent Joel Pepin, put finishing touches on the structure earlier this month — about a year after the district first moved dirt on the project.
“Looking at this campus, and looking at this brand new facility that we get to dedicate today … it’s neat to see that we get to reach our families for Christ through the use of these buildings,” Pepin told the crowd at Tuesday’s event.
Development on the project comes five years since Rejoice opened its nearly 150,000-square-foot complex off of 106th Street North. The Eddy Gibbs Family Trust donated $50 million to Rejoice to help establish the campus, which served as the largest single gift ever given to a K-12 school in the history of the United States at the time.
The Gibbs’ latest namesake features a multipurpose locker room; a players’ lounge with Ping-Pong tables, couches and video games; coaches’ offices and a meeting room; a medical training space with a separate nutrition area; a nationally certified Hammer Strength weight and training room; and a 70-by-60-yard indoor turf field — all amenities lauded by Owasso Mayor Bill Bush.
“This new facility is just incredible … very few schools across the entire state, including 6A schools, have this type of facility on their campus; it’s just unheard of,” Bush said at the gathering. “To be able to have this for kids … it’s just going to be invaluable to them.”
The Gibbs Field House gives student athletes enrolled in all sports programs a one-stop stop to better hone their competitive skills on and off the field, along with a place to congregate with their fellow students.
Rejoice coach and athletic director Brent Marley said he’s excited to see the new facility come to fruition for students to utilize for years to come.
“To many future athletes and future coaches … some of them we don’t even know who they are, but they’re going to be blessed by this,” Marley said Tuesday, “and I can say that with confidence because of what they’re going to be partaking of.
“It’s what goes on inside of there that’s going to matter,” he added in a previous story. “It’s the mentoring, it’s the molding, it’s the coaches’ relationships with each other, and building coaches up to be able to go out and then equip these young men and young women that use that facility.”
The Gibbs Field House complements Rejoice’s existing facilities, which include a 2,000-seat football stadium, a baseball field, three gymnasiums — with one doubling as a storm shelter — several tennis courts and a weight room.
Gibbs, who made an appearance at this week’s dedication ceremony, took a brief moment to remind attendees of the spirit of giving that transcends any monetary donation.
“That’s the real gift to this campus and this school is the people that’s here,” Gibbs said, “then it’s the parents, the teachers and all the volunteers; that’s what makes this day.”