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Changing landscape
Bearden High School’s new look includes stadium’s $250,000 facelift, $1 million Smelcher Complex, unique soccer ‘dugout’

Happening upon some crumbling concrete has led to $250,000 in stadium repairs at Bearden High School's Bill Young Field, adding further improvement to the school's ever-changing athletic landscape.

A new $1 million football fieldhouse, plus a unique addition to the soccer program's landscape, also have sprung to life in 2010.

“Last year, when we were working on the stadium, one of our teachers noticed some concrete was crumbling underneath it,” said Dr. John Bartlett, BHS principal, about the Bulldogs' football and track and field home. “We reported it, and they came in and they patched that concrete and reinforced it with steel.

“So what they did this summer, they had a structural engineer come in and tell them what all needed to be done and repaired on the concrete,” Bartlett added. “So they had a company that specializes in concrete stadiums, fixing them, come in and patch and repair any concrete that needs to be repaired, put the steel where it needs to be put in.”

Set to be completed prior to the start of Bearden's 2010 football season opener in August, the stadium has been pressure washed, “and they're sealing all the concrete,” Bartlett said. “It's about a 30-year seal they're putting on it. They're sealing it underneath and on top. The whole concrete will be sealed, and then they're going to re-paint what needs to be painted.”

Other improvements include “some work in the press box ... more lighting underneath the stadium, and some updating bathroom fixtures,” he said.

The cost, “around the $250,000 mark,” is paid entirely from Knox County Schools system funds, Bartlett said.

Emphasizing the stadium was not hazardous, Bartlett said the renovation, which began in mid-March, “was more preventative. Nobody's safety was at stake.”

The renovation complements Jim Smelcher Athletic Complex, the football program's new 10,000-square foot brick and metal facility training facility adjacent to Bill Young Field completed earlier last spring (Aug. 20 ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to Bulldogs' home season opener versus Walker Valley).

“In my mind, it's probably the top football athletic facility in East Tennessee,” Bartlett said. “It's just absolutely gorgeous ... a first-class facility.”

Along with optimism about Bearden's chances for football success in 2010, Bartlett said, “There's a lot of excitement and buzz about our program now. Coach [Brad] Taylor's done a great job, and his staff. ... Everything's positive right now.”

At Bruce Allender Field, home of BHS girls and boys soccer, program leaders came up with a “dugout” concept of housing both teams on the sideline during games.

In-game sideline shelters for home and visiting teams — similar in build to top-of-the ground baseball dugouts — were built by SoccerDawg club volunteers during Spring Break in March.

The wooden shelters measure 10 X 40.

“It's something we wanted, we wanted it to be a top-rate shelter, we didn't want just a podunk one,” said Eric Turner, BHS girls and boys varsity soccer head coach. “We had various fund-raising efforts and were able to get it done.”


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