NORTH AUGUSTA — The next phase of construction at North Augusta High School, including a new arena-style gym, got a stamp of approval from North Augusta Planning Commission on Thursday evening.

Phase 3 of the construction at the school involves a new gymnasium, practice field and parking.

Tilden Hilderbrand with Hass and Hildebrand represented the Aiken County Public School District.

“This project involves constructing a new gym where the current administration building is," he said. "After the demolition is complete, the contractor will dig a big deep hole and the gym will be approximately 12 feet underground with 18 feet above ground, so it’ll be an arena type construction.”

When that is finished, Hilderbrandsaid, the existing gym will be demolished and that area will become a grass band practice field.

Commissioner Len Carter gave “kudos” to those working on the arena, calling the work “impressive.”

The phase will also include a reconstructed parking lot with 329 parking spaces.

Commission chair Briton Williams asked about the dirt parking lot students park on, which Hilderbrand said will be turned into a softball field, adding that the reconfigured parking areas will include enough parking for students.

The phase will also include a car drop-off loop.

The motion to recommend approval of the site plan was made by Carter, and seconded by Commissioner Dr. Christine Crawford. The vote was unanimous among those present. Commissioners JoAnn McKie and Tim Key were not present.

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.