The project, which broke ground this week and should be completed before the 2014-15 school year begins in August, includes moving the long jump pit as well as the shot put and discus arena, resurfacing the track and adding a new drainage and sprinkler system to the football field.
The field, which has begun retaining water in recent years, according to Sequoyah athletic director Todd Miller, has lost some of its crown. That problem will also be corrected.
“I guess you can call it an overhaul,” Miller said. “It was getting to the point where it was in bad shape. I think (the county) just decided that now was a good time to come in and give it a facelift. We saw the blueprints (Wednesday). They look pretty good. It’s going to be nice to have a new addition around here.”
Sequoyah is one of two county schools performing significant work on its stadium, with Cherokee’s aging Tommy Baker Field and other adjacent facilities receiving facelifts.
Miller said the purpose of relocating the long jump pit, as well as the shot put and discus areas, was to move them further way from the playing surface used for football, soccer and now lacrosse.
“Where the long jump pit was, it was close to the sidelines up against the school,” Miller said. “To get it a little bit further way from the field, they will put that in the south end zone. They will reconfigure the shot put and discus areas there, too, in order to get them away from the football end zone.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the top layers of the field had been pushed back by construction equipment. The next stage is the installation of the drainage system before the crest is restored and sod is laid. A rubberized track will replace the current track that has lost its coating in many places.
Barring excessive rain, Miller expects the new sod to be in place in May, so that it has time to take root before the football season begins in August.
Still, that leaves a couple of months that Sequoyah will not have a field or track to use.
Miller said they were given enough advance notice that the school’s soccer coaches were able to decide how they wanted to handle the situation. Both the boys and girls teams opted to play away games during the second half of the season, while practicing at a nearby park. The football team will hold its spring practice at the upper practice field, and the administration is still searching for a venue for the spring game.
Like the soccer teams, the Sequoyah track team will not be hosting any meets for the remainder of the season and will practice at other facilities.
Miller said the cost of the brief inconvenience will be worth the payoff of new facilities.
“It’s always nice to get something like this,” Miller said. “Hopefully, we will be giving the kids a better experience competing in the years to come.”