MILLEDGEVILLE -- The Georgia Military College community got its first look inside the $17 million Kidd Center for health and wellness Friday.
Oh, wow. Im so excited, one female cadet said as she walked into the state-of-the-art weight and cardio training room off the basketball court.
The 56,000-square-foot building offers modern fitness equipment, an elevated track, classrooms, a spacious band room with practice areas, plus an athletic health care and training lab complete with a hydrotherapy suite.
Were very proud, very excited about this, said Bert Williams, GMCs athletic director and head football coach. We can handle just about any type of physical training activity we need to target.
He sees it as a major recruiting tool.
The 9,000 square feet for weight and cardio training replaces a cramped space that was tough to get to, tough to use, Williams said.
Before, we were severely limited in meeting the needs of our college, he said.
The sprawling center that links cadet barracks to the main campus center isnt just for athletes.
The three-story building can accommodate the entire student body -- middle school through junior college -- plus staff and faculty.
The rigors of cadet life require physical strength and can lead to injuries.
We have a tremendous facility now to take care of them. So, we can train em, we can heal em, and we can get em back to 100 percent in what we have here at the Kidd Center, Williams said.
State Rep. Rusty Kidd made an anonymous gift to the project as it was getting underway under GMCs former president, Maj. Gen. Peter Boylan.
Kidd eventually agreed to make the donation public last year during Boylans retirement ceremony.
Kidd, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1999, attended GMC grammar school.
His father, the late state Sen. Culver Kidd, and grandfather also attended the school.
Its just a way of giving something back to the community, giving something back to young people so theyll have access to enjoy it and become healthy themselves.
Kidd is pleased with the finished product. I wish I was younger so I could go to school here and participate and enjoy all these machines, he said. Id probably still be playing ball if I had access to all this equipment, he said.
The hydrotherapy suite includes a therapy wave pool for post-injury rehabilitation, hot and cold plunge pools and a balance stabilization machine.
Williams said the center expands the military schools mission.
GMC has always been about elevating character and developing the intellect of all its students, he said. Now were going to be able to take that strong heart and that strong mind and put it in a strong body.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.