Cass High JROTC building confidence
by Mark Andrews
Feb 14, 2012 | 3377 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cass High Army JROTC member Collin Garrett demonstrates the low crawl on the confidence obstacle course.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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While the projected LakePoint facility is a hot topic for drawing revenue into Bartow County, the new Cass High School Army JROTC confidence course could draw thousands to Bartow for Raider Team competitions.

"The greatest thing about [the confidence course] is team building," Chief Warrant Officer Seamus O'Shea said.

The four-lane confidence course, built based on Army design, is more than 2,000 feet total with each lane being 500 feet long. It features training staples such as monkey bars, walls and a rope course designed to simulate crawling beneath barbed wire.

"When it gets done Cass High will be the biggest benefactor," CHS Army JROTC Support Group President Bryan Castle said. "The baseball team, the football team, the cross country team, they'll be allowed to use it, but it's going to be a county asset so over 14,000 of Bartow County's students will be able to use it."

Castle explained that in Raider competitions, cadets have to work from early morning hours and throughout the day, accomplishing missions such as building bridges and carrying 60-pound bags across miles of terrain, all while trying to beat the other teams to the finish line. The closest Raider Team confidence course is located in Ringgold.

While the course at this time only has one lane halfway completed, the support group thus far has raised about $18,000 toward the project.

"When I started pricing the obstacle course, just trying to buy pressure-treated poles, it was $75,000 to buy brand new pressure-treated poles and have them delivered here," Castle said. "We've been able to get the cost down to about $25,000."

He added, "[The confidence course is] an asset for the county, there's not tax money put into it, there's no county resources as far as equipment or anything put into it, it was all built by parents, cadets and donations from the community."

O'Shea said the course has been a goal for JROTC since the school was formerly located on Grassdale Road.

"We really started [developing the course] when we first moved into the new school and saw how much property we had," O'Shea said.

Both O'Shea and Castle said they eventually want to see the course utilized by schools and community groups -- when approved through the school and superintendent.

"Right now we have Special Olympics [for example], and a lot of schools are involved with Special Olympics and we want to reach out to them and make it an opportunity that the Special Olympics people can come in and use certain obstacles," Castle said.

Senior Bradley Martin ran the course for the first time last week

"With the Raiders it's very fun and exhilarating, but the problem is you can only do so much. At our old high school we couldn't have the training like all the other teams because they have an obstacle course in their backyard," Martin said. "Now that we have one in our backyard, we can train and be better and get those first-place trophies we deserve.

"The thing is, my senior year is over with, so it's up to the freshmen and sophomores and juniors that we've trained up to go ahead and fulfill our dreams."