Historic gym gets $250K

COVINGTON - The renovation of the Cousins Gym recently got a $250,000 boost from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

The historic gym is set to be completely remodeled at a cost of $1 million. County commissioners have already allocated $500,000 in special purpose local option sales tax revenue toward the project.

The grant from the Falcons Youth Foundation now brings total funds raised to $750,000, and work will now begin as early as January, according to Cindy Simpson, director of Project Adventure, a program for disadvantaged youth, who wrote the grant application.

Project Adventure is teaming with the Newton County Recreation Commission on the project. Project Adventure students will use the gym for physical education classes during the day, while recreation teams will occupy it at night and on weekends, said Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey.

The community will also be able to use the gym, which Hailey called a "satellite recreation center."

The gym is the last part of the historic Cousins School, which served as the county's school for black students, to be renovated, according to Simpson.

"That gym has a lot of history to it and we want to maintain that history," she said, adding that a logo of the school's original Wolverine mascot will be hung in the gym.

A check presentation will take place Dec. 6 in the Cousins cafeteria. Falcons players and Nancy Blank, Falcons owner Arthur Blank's daughter-in-law, are expected to attend, Simpson said.

Project Adventure is continuing efforts to raise the additional $250,000 needed for the project, Simpson said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.