By Heather Bell
RADFORD – The old armory on the campus of Radford High School is a much more inviting place these
days, providing practice and game space for a variety of sports.
Radford City Public Schools teamed up with the Radford High School Foundation, Inc., to renovate the
armory to provide practice and games space for every sport offered at the school from baseball to
wrestling, cheerleading to football, and gymnastics.
Radford City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Graham said the project helps make the high school
campus and the City of Radford more competitive for AAU and other tournaments, and gives another
place for teams to practice on a campus that offers a lot of sports that all need space.
“This is a great help to our teams, and it also makes us more competitive for attracting tournaments to
Radford,” said Graham recently at the armory. “It also provides another space for the community to
“It’s already been put to really good use,” added Director of Athletics and Activities Greg Wade. “We’ve
had indoor football practices, competitive cheer, eighth grade boys and girls basketball use it. It’s a really
great addition to campus.”
Aside from the main gymnasium, a music studio is being constructed in a side room of the structure.
Bobcat Studios has already been put to use with a former student using the space last year to record his
hip hop tracks.
Graham said the partnership with the RHS Foundation has been key to the project.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said. “We appreciate so much everything they do each year
for our students, teachers, and facilities.”
George “Abie” Williams, chair of the RHS Foundation, said the project was four years in the making and
the latest improvements are an important step in the renovation of the structure.
“The Radford High School Foundation, Inc., approached the city in November 2017 about the possibility
of partnering with the city and the schools to turn the armory into a multi-use athletic field house for the
both the school and community,” said Williams via email. “The city put a new roof on the armory and
removed hazardous material from the inside. This spring, Rob Graham asked the foundation to consider
resurfacing the concrete floor with a more playable surface. The foundation board agreed to contribute
$10,000 of the $16,476 cost to resurface and stripe the playing floor with basketball lines, two pickle ball
courts, and tennis lines. In addition, the foundation recommended and approved installing new electric
lift basketball goals at a cost of $21,478.”
Williams said he hopes additional renovations will occur in the future.
“The armory is a solid structure, and we believe we can make some future improvements by replacing
windows, interior painting, upgrades to restrooms, creating usable class room space, and sprucing up the
outside façade to be more in keeping with the King Center across the street,” said Williams. “There is
additional land surrounding the armory property which could be helpful in expanding the facility. We
expect this will be another great project for Radford and our school students.”
Williams said it is the perfect project to help the foundation’s mission.
“The foundation has the mission of supporting our already successful school system by providing those
things normal school budgets may not be able to fund,” he said. “All of our projects like the former
armory, whether owned by the city, or schools, must eventually be for the benefit of our students and the
community. Our motto is ‘The future is purchased by the present.’”