A taste of the future

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, August 21, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — The site that will soon be home to the unnamed Demopolis athletic complex was on display Wednesday as project superintendent Robbie LaCoste provided a guided tour to Dr. Wayne Vickers, Demopolis City Schools superintendent, city councilman Charles Jones Sr. and planning committee member Mike Randall.

The sneak peek of the grounds included a look at where each aspect of the facility will reside. As of Wednesday, the stadium had been staked off. The foundation was in place for the twin concession stand and restroom structures that will occupy the area beyond each end zone. And the foundation had been laid for the field house that will include the Demopolis locker room, weight room, shower area and coaches’ offices.

“We’ll have one of the best athletic facilities in the state and I think our children deserve it,” Vickers said. “In my opinion, this facility will match the athletic abilities of our students and the ideas of our coaches.”

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The DCS superintendent said the complex is the product of the joint brainstorming of a committee of individuals.

“We just had some really good people that had some really good ideas,” Vickers said. “What we’re hoping by having a committee look at it is that we hit on some of the things we wanted as a school system. My vision for our school system is to be the very best in everything we do, whether it be academics or athletics. Part of that is having top-notch facilities.”

The project, which has been in the works since before Vickers accepted the position as the school system’s top man, called upon funding from multiple areas in order to become a reality.

“The total cost for the entire process is $5.3 million,” Vickers said. According to Vickers, approximately $3.3 million of the total cost will be covered by a bond initiative while the remainder of the funding was put up by the city.

“The city government committed $2 million to the project,” Vickers said. “The city contributing to this project makes a world of difference. We couldn’t have done it without that contribution. That $2 million was pivotal not only in what we are able to accomplish with the facility itself, but it is also pivotal in what it says about their commitment to our school system and community.”

According to Jones, that concern for the well being of the city’s student-athletes was among the chief driving forces behind the council’s decision to help fund the facility.

“That we care about our youth,” he said when asked what the city’s contribution said about the council. “We want to keep them out of trouble. We want to educate them and train them. We want to teach them sportsmanship.”

“I was really excited about this,” Jones said of a move he believes will help the school grow in multiple ways. “Five years down the line, I hope the enrollment will put us in another class.”

Jones also said he believes the move is one that is long over due.

“Since we had our first pro athlete leave this city, we should have been thinking about this facility,” the city councilman said.

“What I’m excited about is the excitement is going to go up each month,” Vickers said of the buzz surrounding the project, which has yet to have a concrete completion date attached to it.

“I’d like to see it completed in the next couple of years so some of the present people here can play in this stadium,” Jones said. The project, which has utilized McKee and Associates of Montgomery for its design and RAC Construction of Livingston for its completion, is anticipated to be done in time to house all 2009-2010 Demopolis home games.