January 31, 2023

The Jackson Blazer

A voice for the community

Jackson High School Opens Al Glick Athletic Center

You don’t have to be a football player or even an athlete to appreciate the new Al Glick Athletic Center which is located inside Withington Stadium. In fact, the newly renovated complex leaves many universities in awe.

Opened earlier this month to the students, the $2 million enhancement project sets the tone for the State of the Art $10 million Athletic Center, a gift from Al Glick and Glick family and foundation. The entire project was over a year-and-a-half in the making.

The Withington Stadium enhancements, outside of the multi-purpose indoor fieldhouse, include, student run Viking store, concessions building and improvements to disabled spectator seating at Withington Stadium. The project also includes doubling restroom capacity

An excited Jeff Beal, JPS Superintendent, commented, “We’ve got kids running around with cameras, so it’s a tri-caster system set up. So our kids, who might not be football players can run the cameras and they can switch the video feed up to the State of the Art scoreboard that fans are watching.  So, we are getting more JPS students, who might never be a part of the football program, involved in the athletic program.”

The indoor JHS athletic facility is 60 yards long, and the width of a full football field. The field is striped for football, baseball and soccer.  The field is installed with a synthetic turf with a shock-absorbing pad.  “We wanted to help prevent injuries and concussions regarding this turf”, said Beal. The athletic center offers retractable batting cages and sprinter lanes for track and field athletes. The band can also avoid inclement weather and practice inside.

To provide the very best for the students, JPS has hired two employees to help operate the facility and help students and athletic teams with conducting their weight training. ‘It’s really good to be involved with the kids” said Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Crystal Brinker. “My primary role is to work with athletes and prepare them for competition. Keep them healthy so they can elevate their performance.”

Brinker attended the University of Michigan to earn a degree in Exercise Science before interning at Ferris State University.

“This facility is amazing”, said Brinker. “It’s honestly crazy – most colleges other than the big DI schools would be extremely lucky to have facilities like  it. Right from the get-go, it provides a lot of excitement for our kids. Our former weight room did the job, but there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm stemming from that atmosphere. Here, they can come in and have a place that’s their own.”

“This is one of the final pieces of the puzzle to be completed from the $86.7-million bond the community passed in 2018.”, said Beal” “In addition to the new digital scoreboard, locker rooms and resurfacing of a common area near the entrance and concession where picnic tables eventually will be added. At the conclusion of the football season, new shock-absorbing turf will be installed in place of the old turf that has passed its use of life inside Withington Stadium.”

The Al Glick Athletic Center somewhat resembles the University of Michigan’s football indoor practice facility, a gift also from Al Glick. Both designed by TMP Architecture.

“This is a great facility”, said student-athlete Gibson Drummond. “I think students from generations to come will love and benefit from it.”