More than 100 people showed up Friday afternoon at the dedication of a new multipurpose facility at Jacksonville High School that would serve as “a selling feature” that reminds people of the commitment the local district has to its students.

“We built this for you,” Dr. Chad Kelly, Jacksonville ISD superintendent, told students who comprised most of the audience. “It will be a selling feature for other students who come in to Jacksonville ISD to see the quality education we provide for all our students.”

The $4.2 million multipurpose complex will house the high school girls' athletic and boys' soccer dressing rooms, a workout area and facilities for the school's drill team and cheer squads.

Funds for the project – which was overseen by contractor Lee Lewis, who also oversaw the construction of the new West Side Elementary – came from money set aside by the district for future construction projects, combined with funds left over from a $22.8 million bond passed by voters in a November 2013 election to build the new West Side school and to provide for renovations on another campus.

The dressing room previously used by girls' athletics was constructed in 1956 as part of the district's new high school. With growth in the school program, the facility fell short of meeting students' needs.

The new multipurpose building is located to parallel to the high school Field House and adjacent to the old gymnasium.

“Can you believe it?” school board president Todd Travis asked the audience.

“It's been almost a year since the groundbreaking for this facility – it seems like just yesterday we just started the project,” he said, adding that district officials were proud of the facility, which would serve not only students now, but well into the future.

Kelly agreed, saying the new facility will “prime our athletes to help them get to the next level in all sports, and to make sure that our Charmers and cheerleaders bring home more trophies than you already see in the trophy cases.”

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