New stadium, same Demopolis
As Demopolis bids adieu to Memorial Stadium tonight, it ceremonially takes the next step toward transitioning into the new athletic complex behind the high school that is set to be completed by the beginning of the next academic year.
“It will be awesome,” DHS head football coach and athletic director Tom Causey said of the convenience the facility will provide. “Right now we’re starting practice at 3:45 (p.m.) every day. We’ll be able to start our practices 30 minutes earlier, get our kids home a little earlier, get them in the books a little earlier.”
The stadium, made possible by a sizable contribution from the city, will reportedly serve as much more than a home to the football program.
“It’s an entire athletic complex,” Dr. Wayne Vickers, superintendent of Demopolis City Schools, said. “It basically completes our high school(campus), which was started in 1993.”
Vickers seconded Causey’s enthusiasm regarding the convenience and practicality the facility is expected to provide.
“It makes a big difference having an on-campus facility,” Vickers said. “Our kids and coaches have lost time every day during that drive.”
In addition to saving time for coaches and players, the facility’s location also enables Causey and his staff to better perform general maintenance and upkeep on the playing surface.
“You hate to leave Memorial Stadium because of the tradition that’s there,” Vickers said.
While the tradition permeating the atmosphere at the Tigers’ current home is undeniable, Causey believes the new field will carry with it much of the same mystique.
“I think you’re going to have the same electric atmosphere in that stadium as you have now in Memorial Stadium,” Causey said. “I think that comes with the people and the players and the fans and the coaches.”
Vickers believes the new stadium will serve as a source of pride for the students, parents, faculty and staff of the school system.
“(The new stadium is a place) where the facility will be equal to the quality of our players and coaches,” Vickers said of the complex, which will also include a track.
Additionally, the complex will offer more accommodations for visitors, including more seating and a larger number of restrooms than are currently available at Memorial Stadium.
“I think it’s there,” Causey said of his belief that the forthcoming stadium is on par with administrators’ vision of DHS athletic programs. “I know it’s going to be something that the entire city can be proud of.”
According to Vickers, the 4,500 seat facility would not have been possible without the help of the city council.
“I can’t say enough about our board and city council and them stepping up with the (funding) it took to make this happen and the commitment they showed to our kids.”
“When Memorial Stadium was built, it was probably one of the nicest in the state,” Vickers said of an accomplishment he believes Demopolis will duplicate upon completion of the currently in-progress facility.
“It will certainly be a place people will talk about when they leave, about how nice it was and how much they enjoyed being there. Hopefully they’ll leave with a loss though.”