Anyone who drives past Lonoke High School on either Academy Street or Conway Street will notice that the multipurpose facility is beginning to look like a big-time arena.
The Gina Cox Center, which will house a 2,000 seat arena as well as a new high school cafeteria, is on schedule to open before the 2013-14 school year, according to the project superintendent.
"Building progression has been good," said Kevin Thomas, with Delk Construction, on Tuesday. "We haven’t had a lot delays or holdups on anything."
Right now, the crew is enclosing the outside of the Center with metal wall panels. Second-floor masonry is going up right now, Thomas said.
"The first-floor masonry, for the most part, is pretty much done," Thomas said. "The building will be mostly enclosed by first or middle part of January. The painting will start in the middle of December."
It has been two months since the Lonoke Democrat had an update from inside the facility. Since then, the precast concrete slabs for the seating area were installed and the top of the facility was enclosed.
Thomas said one of the last things the company will do is poor the concrete slab for the main playing area in the arena. That will come in the summer of 2013.
Thomas said seeing the progression of the facility is "neat."
"It’s always neat when it’s something this big and has so many different parts and see it all come together from paper to building," he said.
Right now, there are between 20-50 people working on the facility, depending upon what their job is.
Lonoke athletic director Nathan Morris said he hasn’t been in the facility since they started working on the upper area.
"You can definitely tell you are in an arena," he said. "Every day is a little more exciting. When kids keep commenting on things, there is a lot of excitement in the air with that building."
The Gina Cox Center is named in honor of former Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits basketball player Gina Cox Wiertelak, who, along with her husband Jim, donated $1 million to help construct the facility, which will also house a new high school cafeteria.
The voters in the Lonoke School District approved a millage increase to pay for the Gina Cox Center during a special election in May 2011. In fact, 74 percent of 800 votes cast were in favor of the arena. Ground was officially broken on the project in March of this year.