Athletic complex update

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The phrase a &8220;hard row to plow&8221; definitely applies to the Demopolis City School&8217;s new athletic complex project.

Since it was first conceived, the project has been beset by setbacks and hurdles to overcome as it has worked its way to fruition &8212; but it appears to be on the final straight away. In the Demopolis Board of Education&8217;s meeting on Dec. 17, superintendent Wayne Vickers updated members on where the project stands.

Vickers said the project will be bid jointly with a planned four-room addition to the high school. He said the four-room addition should be completed by the beginning of next school year, while the athletic complex the system had hoped to have ready by the upcoming football season will likely be completed about halfway through next years season.

Though the plans are completed, they must be sent to the state building commission for final approval, which takes a set amount of time. Once they are approved the board will issue a formal bid, which will allow contractors around 30 days to compile a bid, and then choose the bid they find best suits the system&8217;s needs.

Much of the funds being used for the project will come from a board pledge of $100,000 a year for 20 years from its capital outlay. It will also including funds from the state bond issue for capital improvements and $2 million from the city that will be included in the upcoming bond issue for city projects. Though the funding from the city and board is approved, $100,000 in seed money has already been used to fund the design process of the project.

Part of the project will also include renovations of Memorial Stadium to adjust the complex to its new use. The structure will become part of the middle school, providing an area for school recreation and other public uses.

The estimated cost of the new construction portion of the project, according to reports from the architects, will run around $3.5 million. This will include field houses, concession stands, facilities, a track and soccer field, stadium and press boxes.