McDonald board looks at stadium improvements

28 September 2018

As the school board is finalizing buying property off Second Street for a possible eight-lane sports track, they are also looking at needed improvements for the football stadium complex.

Board member Thomas Hannon, chairman of the buildings and grounds committee, said the purchase of the Second Street property near Olive Street — 35 acres for $190,000 from McDonald First Baptist Church — will be completed next month.

Meanwhile, the district’s two-lane track cannot be used for competitions, so the board is looking at having an eight-lane track built that would allow the district to host competitions and events. The estimated cost $500,000, officials said.

The track is now only used for practice by the track and cross country teams and other school-related activities.

Also discussed was adding grass soccer and baseball fields, and restrooms.

Hannon said after several meetings the committee recommended against building a new stadium complex, but repair and upgrade the existing complex.

“The existing stadium needs improvements and can be a great place,” he said.

Some of the work that needs done includes new lighting, repairing deteriorated sections of the stadium, adding new concession stand and restrooms and making sections complaint with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

There is around $2 million left in a levy passed by voters in 2016 for athletic complex that can cover improvements, according to officials.

“We have looked at all options. This would be a one-to three-year plan. We want to use the remaining levy money to make capital improvements to last 40 to 60 years,” Hannon said.

Superintendent Kevin O’Connell said there is also a need for more parking, which could be near the stadium off Sixth Street near Russo Lane.

Residents have attended meetings complaining to the board of bad electricity, poor lighting and the press box leaking and is not being safe. The stadium was constructed in the 1950s.

O’Connell had said lighting work alone would be $80,000 to $100,000. O’Connell said the press box needs to be looked at for safety.