Site plan approved for $3.75M Dave Rider Center for Athletic Performance

Published 11:14 am Friday, April 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Buzz Trexler

Star Correspondent

What one Elizabethton Board of Education member has called “a dream come true” moved one step closer to reality Thursday night as the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission gave its approval to the site plan that includes an 18,000-square-foot multiuse sports facility.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


The Dave Rider Center for Athletic Performance, located at 907 Jason Witten Way, is a complex that is separate from the main structure at Elizabethton High School. It will be connected by an open-air canopy and include a 30-yard-by-30-yard section of artificial turf, an auxiliary gymnasium with a basketball court that can also be used for volleyball and other activities, and a new weight room that is larger than the one currently used underneath the visiting bleachers at Treadway Gymnasium.


The city Board of Education approved the $3.75 million training facility at its Dec. 19, 2023, meeting, during which Board Chairman Eddie Pless said, “It’s a dream come true for a lot of people to see this.”


The facility is being named for legendary EHS football coach Dave Rider, who died Dec. 20, 2020, at the age of 82. The high school campus is located on a road named for his grandson, Jason Witten, who played 17 seasons in the NFL, 16 of which were with the Dallas Cowboys and one of which was with the Las Vegas Raiders.


Elizabethton Director of Schools Richard VanHuss played for Rider in the 1986-1988 seasons and eventually coached under Rider for three years, starting in the 1997 season. VanHuss said by email Thursday, “He was an outstanding coach and an even better man!”


The building will be constructed by Preston Construction Co. of Johnson City.