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FHS soccer stadium’s lights ready for ’09 girls?

A migration to Farragut Intermediate School's wider field as home to Farragut High School soccer, which began unofficially last spring by the boys team, may be official by this fall.

A two-phase project to turn the field into a stadium, costing roughly $140,000 plus around $35,000 in donated labor and materials, starts with Phase One's installation of lights and fencing.

Both FHS teams’ booster club presidents, Dave Stinton with the boys and Donnie Shanklin representing the girls, expressed confidence that lights and fencing would be up in time to allow the Lady Admirals team to play all 2009 fall season games at FIS.

Stinton said Phase One cost, aside from donations, is “$55,000 to $60,000.” A corporate donation of $25,000 goes toward Phase One, “and then, parents and other small businesses have basically, over the past three or four months, have been able to raise another $25,000.

“So, we have enough money and are in process of ordering the lights. ... We've also found a company that's willing to help us install the lights. That's probably a contribution of around $25,000. And we have also been talking with [a company] donating materials for the fence. So we think we're close to that.

“I think we're within $5,000 or $10,000 of getting Phase One completed for the girls' season. We have enough money to order the lights and get the lights installed,” adding the fence “is about $5,000.”

Stinton said the lights were supposed to be ordered this week, “with a delivery time of a month. Then we hope within a couple of weeks we could get ’em put up. ... We can get [the fence] done while the lights are being put up.”

About the lighting, Shanklin said, "I think we'll probably, in the next two weeks, start to put foundations in for the poles. We've got the money and we feel pretty comfortable we're going to get the labor for it donated.”

About the Farragut boys using the FIS field for all of its post-season home games in 2009 leading to the program's fourth Class AAA state title in seven years, Stinton said, “the boys really were a little hesitant to play up there because they really had the experience on the football field [FHS's Bill Clabo Field].

“The coaches and the boys talked about it, convinced themselves they'd be better off on the bigger, wider field. The boys played fantastic over there.”

To complete the stadium project, Phase Two would feature “a concession stand and bleachers, press box and a sound system,” Stinton said. As for a scoreboard, “I think Knox County has a contract with some company that provides scoreboards."

About a Phase Two timetable for completion, “It may take another year,” Stinton said, but added he'd like to see the program acquire at least one section of stands “for the girls [2009] season. The first thing in Phase Two is getting a comfortable place for our folks to sit.

“I would definitely hope that we have at least one section of stands by the boys’ season.”

Aside from donations, Stinton said “probably on the order of $80,000” would be spent for Phase Two.

Saying the program needs

“probably two or three sections of bleachers," Stinton spoke about appearing in front of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen June 11 asking the Town for $15,000 for bleachers. A decision was postponed.

“I was asking the town of Farragut to help us with the first [section],” he said, adding each section would seat roughly 225.

Wallie Culbreth, FHS boys head coach, said he was “absolutely stunned at the Town's reaction, especially since there's so many Farragut kids that are involved in soccer, both boys and girls. And the boys team has brought not just state, but national recognition to Farragut. “You can Google it and find out what's brought recognition to Farragut, the baseball team and the soccer team.”

Culbreth added, “I've solicited to Knox County to try and get some bleachers that they've torn down at other stadiums ... that maybe can be put together.”

Stinton said a concession stand, with plumbing and restrooms, would span roughly 625 square feet, adding the pressbox would be about 15-by-15-square feet.

Dennis Lindsay, FHS girls head coach, emphasized he did not want girls soccer games interfering with FIS or FMS after-school activities and said he's in charge of coordinating that effort with FIS principal Kay Wellons and new FMS principal Heather Karnes.

“School is more important than sports,” he said. “I don't know if we're scheduled around all the intermediate school and middle school activities [such as] open house, maybe band concerts.”

With his team practicing regularly at FIS, Lindsay said about parking, “every once in a while you'll see that place packed at nights ... there won't be a space in the parking lot.”

Lindsay, in charge of soccer field maintenance for years, said having the FIS field ready after Phase One “will help quite a bit.”

But he also added if the new field did not have bleachers, big home games might be moved back to former home Bill Clabo Field. “If it's a school that brings a lot of people, I might opt for the [football] stadium,” he said.

About cooperation between the booster clubs, Stinton and Shanklin agree they’ve worked well together and shared the work load equitably.


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