Whippet athletic facility rendering

A rendering of the planned Whippet athletic facility that is to be built on the campus of Shelby High School.

SHELBY — When it comes to the new Whippet athletic complex being planned for a 2023 debut on the grounds of Shelby High School, the effort is described by Superintendent Tim Tarvin as “one more piece of that campus puzzle that we’ve always talked about.”

In the past 10 years, campus the site already has become the home of the high school that opened in 2013, and nearby, the Shelby district is now building a pre-kindergarten through-eighth-grade building that is expected to open in time for the 2022-23 academic year, he noted.

“We used to have neighborhood schools in Shelby years ago,” Tarvin said. “Those have gone by the wayside, for many, many years now. Having all of our kids on one campus whether it’s to take advantage of our curriculum opportunities or whether it’s to take advantage of extracurricular, particularly, athletic possibilities, this is an opportunity that presented itself to us. Our board has decided to take advantage of it.”

Tarvin made his comments in extensive remarks to reporters after the Shelby Board of Education on March 15 formally went ahead with a plan discussed last month to secure financing for the new athletic complex.

A $4 million budget is being planned for the Whippet athletic complex. The venue is to be home to multiple Shelby sports, including high school football, with the goal of starting play there starting in the 2023 season. 

“It allows all of our kids, all of athletics to take place here” at the high school campus with the exception of just three sports, Tarvin said. “Swimmers still go to the Y (YMCA), but we consider the Y still part of our campus, quite frankly. Our bowlers, there’s no bowling alley in Shelby so they have to go out to bowl, and our golfers go out to the country club.”

The on-campus athletic facility — part of a replacement for the aging Skiles Field football venue — is being planned to benefit more than Shelby High School’s sports teams such as football, soccer, baseball, track, soccer, tennis and softball.

“The hope is that this facility with a turf field, our phys-ed classes will be able to go out there and take advantage of that,” Tarvin said. “Marching band will take advantage of it. We hope to have band festivals at this new site, and classes can go up there.”

“There’s a lot of flexibility that this project affords our students, our staff and the community,” he added.

Officials have emphasized that the athletic facility’s $4 million budget equates to interest savings related to the new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth grade school building project being built behind Shelby Middle School off Smiley Avenue.

When it debuts, the Whippet athletic complex will mark a first for Shelby in another way as described by Tarvin.

“We’re going to have 2,000 kids out here,” he said of the campus being home to both the high school and new pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade building. “All 2,000 can walk up to this (athletic) facility and use it on a daily basis. That has never happened before in Shelby, ever. And so for me, that is really, really exciting.”

Check the Shelby Daily Globe for more of Tarvin's comments about the athletic complex, including its financing.

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