By J.D. McKay
On Oct. 22, the New Albany-Floyd County school board approved using three million dollars left over from the referendum to build a new soccer facility for New Albany High School. The facility will be located at the old Green Valley Elementary School, and will include new locker rooms, stadium seats, and concession stands.
While new soccer fields is something NAHS needs (they have 12 soccer teams on one field), spending three million dollars on one field is unreasonable, especially because they seem to be ignoring problems we have with fields at Floyd Central.
Our soccer, baseball, softball, and shotput and discus fields sit in a valley and flood every year, usually in the spring, which makes playing on the softball field almost impossible. Some years, the outfield fences are destroyed, the screen behind home plate torn, and brick dust in the infield moves around so it is unusable. Plus, debris is strewn all over the shot and disc fields, and the soccer field is too wet and soft to use for several weeks.
The clean up is usually assigned to the softball, baseball, and soccer teams. Then, after most of the immediate tasks have been completed, a maintenance crew comes in and finishes the tasks that take some expertise. Clean up is also very costly. According to athletic director Jeff Cerqueira it cost at least 25,000 dollars to clean, but on the more destructive years it has cost 75,000 dollars.
Another problem with this new stadium for NAHS soccer is keeping the high schools equal. Currently, FC has two locker rooms attached the football stadium. One of them is used for football, and one is used for girls’ soccer. That means the boys’ soccer team is without a locker room to change in, and the girls’ locker room is not always open for their use. Plus, the concession stand and bathrooms are attached to the football stadium.
According to the minutes from the school board meeting on Oct. 22, NAHS’ new facility will have three exclusively soccer locker rooms, coaches’ offices, bathrooms, and a concession stand attached to the stadium. Their new stadium will also have permanent bleachers. Currently, we have bleachers that only stay by the soccer fields for the season; then, they are wheeled away to sit in the parking lot to wait until the start of next soccer season. The only equal part of their facility and our fields would be the press box.
NAHS clearly needs a new soccer facility, but that expense is ridiculous. Seymour High School installed a new soccer facility three years ago with a turf field, practice field, and had 200 thousand dollars of unexpected drainage that needed to be installed. That cost them only 1.4 million dollars and included new stands, press box, lights, and field turf, and could have been several hundred thousand less if not for the drainage surprise and practice field.
What SHS did is much more logical and could make facilities even between the two schools. NAHS could have the 1.5 million to build their new soccer facility, and we could have the other 1.5 million to make the fix the problems we have with our soccer, softball, shotput and discus, and baseball fields.