LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The football players filed in, and their eyes lit up like Christmas trees.
That's what a change from a small, cramped locker room to a new wide-open area will do for high school players.
At an Out-of-Door Academy homecoming pep rally Friday, the Thunder unveiled the David and Lisa Grain Locker Room to its varsity athletes.
A giant, white "O" sits on the floor in the middle of the roughly 4,000-square-foot locker room and is chained off for a reason.
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"It's that whole Under Armour 'Protect Your House,'" Thunder athletic director and head football coach Brett Timmons said. "So we're trying to protect our house."
The Grains were the donors for the project spearheaded by Tandem Construction and Fleischman-Garcia architecture.
Tandem vice president Jerrold Schoenholtz said they had 25 working days to get the facility built.
The company also helped build IMG Academy's football stadium that was unveiled in August.
"The project was basically a challenge," Schoenholtz said, "to get this done in a certain period of time, and we took that challenge on. We were painting right up to the last day. ... We worked 10 hours a day, six days a week and everybody bought into it."
Tandem's Kent Hayes is a 2003 ODA alum. So having the chance to give back to his alma mater was a treat, he said.
"When I was at ODA, we didn't have a football team," Hayes said. "We didn't have a big locker room and a big sports team. But I was a captain of all three sports teams I played: soccer, baseball and basketball. So I absolutely loved the sports theme. I moved back into town about two years ago. I immediately signed up with the alumni group because I had been at ODA from first through 12th grade until I went to college. ... We want to continue to build this school and have that personal relationship with them that is helping build the future for the kids."
Meanwhile, David Grain, whose son is a varsity football player, said the chance to give back was reason enough to donate funds for the locker room, which is attached to the Petrik Thunderdome. Grain, the founder and managing partner of Grain Management, LLC, elected not to reveal the amount of his donation.
"To be able to achieve professional success and not try to do things that are significant that impact others lives is really a shame," Grain said. "By the grace of God, I've been successful enough to do something. ... If you can't give money, you give your time, you can provide people with advice. ... I just think we have a responsibility to do that."