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FHS Stadium: 130-days start to finish?


Exceeding a 130-day start-to-finish completion deadline, placed on two firms in charge of constructing the new $1.1 million Farragut High School stadium at Bill Clabo Field, will determine if the Admirals’ fall football season opener will begin at home as scheduled.

Following a story farragutpress broke Jan. 24, Dwayne Simmons, FHS athletic director and assistant principal, said coaches and school administrators “are hoping they can speed it up and have it done somewhere like the first week of August.”

With Farragut’s season-opening varsity football game set for Aug. 22 at home versus West High School, Simmons gave a scenario if unforeseen construction delays pushed back stadium completion into the season.

“We would probably just have to switch our home games to the team that we’re playing,” he said.

Though recently getting the green light for construction from Knox County Board of Education, “Physically it will not start until after [Knox] County Commission meeting on the 28th of this month — they have to put their stamp on it also,” Simmons said. “We don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

If Commission approves, “They’ll probably get started as quickly as they can because they’ve already hired a firm that’s going to do the tear-down,” said Simmons, who confirmed the contractor is Dant-Clayton Corp., Louisville, Ky., and architect is BarberMcMurry Architects, Knoxville.

Simmons also confirmed reports that stadium funding is part of an $18.6 million Knox County Schools capital improvements plan.

New aluminum stands, which would roughly match the current cement stands capacity of 5,500, and a new, longer one-deck press box to feature heating/air conditioning are on the drawing board to replace the original, 30-year-old concrete stands and

pressbox.

Eddie Courtney, FHS varsity football head coach, said the new aluminum stands, as currently proposed, would go “approximately from the 10 to the 10 [yard line].” The current concrete stands extend roughly to the 20-yard lines.

To have twin sections separated by a walkway as with the concrete stands, the new walkway “will be almost twice as wide because of the handicap accessibility and a place for wheelchairs,” Courtney said. “And they’ll be two entrances instead of one in the middle [behind the bleachers].”

Courtney and school administrators point to code compliance, specifically as it relates to handicap access, and safety concerns as two main reasons for change.

Although County would, at best, only provide partial funding for a new concession stand and new bathrooms, Simmons said earlier this year, “We want it all done at the same time.”

Spectators for Farragut spring sports teams, boys soccer and track and field, would use the visitors’ stands — approximate capacity 1,200 — which will not change, Simmons said. Clock controls for boys soccer games “can be moved from upstairs to down on the field,” he added. “I’m sure they would put it in some type of box that could be locked up.”

Otherwise, “It won’t affect spring sports at all,” the Admirals AD said.

 

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