Lakeland Christian's new $6M athletic center to help keep one man's legacy alive

By Lindsay Liquori, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:30 AM EDT

Rain chased fans out of Viking Stadium Friday and into the brand new Roger Evans Athletic Center at Lakeland Christian High School.

Bad weather cancelled the game and the focus became a ribbon cutting ceremony at the breathtaking $6 million state-of-the-art, 23,000 square foot compound.

Roger Evans' widow, Teri held the giant scissors.  While most celebrated it was a bittersweet night for her.

"It brings back a lot of memories," said Teri Evans, who had 17 family members fly in from out of town for the dedication.  "I knew it would be a hard night, but it's a very special night."

After 41 1/2 years of marriage Teri lost Roger this past January. The former three sport coach at LCS passed away following a three year battle with appendix cancer. 

"He had a very very aggressive, painful cancer, but he kept going," said Evans.  

"He came to school when he didn't feel like it. He was at football games when he didn't feel like it. He traveled two hours away to away games when he was really sick and didn't feel like it because he was determined just not to give up."

That perseverance made him the epitome of a LCS Viking and the obvious choice for the building's name.  

So, what would Roger say if he could see this building?

"He would absolutely love it," said Evans.  "He would especially love the weight room."

"He worked out every morning in our old weight room, with the old racks and the old weights," said first year head football coach Danny Williams.  "Never complained. He would just think this is unbelievable."

The two-story building includes new locker rooms for football and soccer, a weight room overlooking to end zone, end zone bleachers, a trainer's rooms, and an officials room.

"From the training facility all the way to the weight equipment to the locker room, everything is top notch," said Williams.  "This is very immaculate compared to what we've had in the past."

"Just the difference in lockers because we came from a portable to this," said senior quarterback Tate Whatley.  "This is awesome. It's really a blessing."

On the second floor the Viking Veranda provides balcony seating to watch the game.  There is also a Wi-Fi equipped Wilbanks Study Center for watching film and doing homework.  There is also a room big enough to hold team banquets.

Nine 55-inch televisions are currently being installed to show the school's live stream of the game, Spectrum Sports feeds and other football games.

"Being in this building being at the school that he loved, being with people he loved, definitely makes me feel close to him," said Evans.