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To repair or replace: BOE weighs school stadium projects

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

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The David Crockett and Daniel Boone stadiums could be getting a facelift — or possibly an entire replacement.

The Washington County Board of Education will consider a repair or replacement project at the 50-year-old high school stadiums in Gray and Jonesborough at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 3. 

At the board’s May 26 workshop, BOE member Mike Masters said he felt the decision comes down to replacing the stadiums or placing a “Band-Aid” on the facilities.

“I just think we need to replace them,” Masters said. “I know it’s going to be a lot more. But I hate to put a Band-Aid on it.”

A report from architecture and engineering firm Thompson and Litton said the stadium repairs for Boone would cost $275,000 and a stadium replacement would cost between $1.3 to $1.5 million. For Crockett, repairs would cost $350,000 and a replacement would cost around $1.5 million. 

The stadium at Daniel Boone could see repairs or a replacement project.
(Photos by Marina Waters)

Board Chairman Jason Day said he felt the board needed to consider how long repairs might last versus a replacement and the price tag that goes with those projects.

“I’m thinking of the longevity of the repairs,” Day said. “You’re talking about $3 million and then $500,000.”

Carl Gutschow with Thompson and Litton said the main issue with the stadiums is age and deterioration.

“It was good stuff when it was built, but it’s just age,” Gutschow said, referring specifically to the Crockett stadium. “Water gets to it and once the freeze-thaw starts, it’s hard to stop. We worked on other stadiums of similar nature. You can put coatings on it, but if it starts to give way, you just don’t have much to work with.”

The replacement projects would include aluminum bench seating with capacity of 2,000 seats and 400 molded seats and wheelchair-accessible seating and a new press box with LED lighting, power, data and audio connection.

Once a decision is made, the next step for the projects would be to secure funding, which is a concern for Board Member Annette Buchanan.

“I want to know where the money is coming from,” Buchanan said. “I just don’t want to stretch ourselves.”

Finance Director Brad Hale said the money would need to come from the Washington County Commission. 

Washington County Director of Schools Jerry Boyd said once the board makes a decision on the repairs or replacement projects, he would take the request to the commission. 

“The board of education needs to decide a direction then go to the county commission … 

“I think the commission is expecting an updated priority list. This would be a step in that direction of working on that priority list.”

The board will meet on Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 at the Washington County Department of Education’s central office. 

Meetings are open to the public and can be livestreamed at www.wcde.org.