High school athletics is one of the best developmental tools for teenagers in any situation. Curricula can change regularly, but The leadership, discipline, and team-work abilities gained from organized team sports is one of the most prized exports of the educational system. Unfortunately, government-funded public schools are constantly trying to meet tight budgets and sports is one of the first areas to feel the wrath.
Ceredo-Kenova High School in West Virginia is one school currently in the predicament of deciding what to do with their antiquated facilities. According to the local Herald-Dispatch.com news site, the community is currently in discussions on whether to refurbish or replace the old concrete stadium that was built and paid for by the people of the town in 1964. Ric Griffith, a community businessman and former mayor, is one of the proponents of restoring the structure to its former glory, and even adding murals of local historical sporting events.
“Can we return to what we once had? No. Can we preserve it? Yes,” Griffith said. “It would provide historic and artistic enhancement. It can be done.”
Unfortunately, he believes many of the school board members are in favor of a complete tear down, even though estimates suggest restoration would actually be cheaper.
“I spoke with David Ferguson with ZMM Architects who said it would be more expensive to demolish the stadium rather than restore it,” Griffith said. “He said restoring the stadium would cost 80% of the price of demolition. We have time to do the analysis and repairs before the new school opens.”
A proposal from the board suggests aluminum bleachers would be bought to replace the concrete ones. Seating capacity would be reduced as the plan calls for bleachers that would seat 800 versus the 2,000 seat capacity of the concrete ones. However, aluminum bleachers can come in many different sizes and adjustments could be made to accommodate more space.
The situation in Ceredo-Kenova isn’t unique except that the stadium they’re thinking of replacing has been around for such a long time. More and more schools across the country will be faced with these tough questions as budgets continue to shrink and athletics suffer the brunt.