NEWS

Public discusses sports complex upgrade

Robert Blackford/Editor
The proposed sports complex for Mercer County High School is expected to look similar to the Metea Valley High School field .

The football scrimmage at Mercer County High School's Meet the Team night Friday, Aug. 20, was washed out by the storm but fans were given something to think about. Rusty Ruggles and Andy Frye led a public discussion over a fund-raiser for the sports complex upgrade named "Eagles Take Flight." Ruggles and Frye are co-chairs of the fund-raiser chosen by the group "Community Projects for Mercer County."

Tom Maranville, with Maranville Associates was also present. He conducted a feasibility study and determined there was community support for the $1,560,000 project. More than $780,000 has been raised so far toward the project.

Frye and Ruggles answered several questions during the meeting.

Ruggles noted that each phase of the project will be approved by the Mercer County School Board. "We aren't trying to tell anyone what to do," said Ruggles.

Frye said the work on the project would last only about two months and could begin next year if the money is raised in time.

Ruggles wasn't sure if spectators would be allowed to stand on the track during football games which has been a practice in the past at the field.

Lights

The project will reduce the number of light poles on sight from 10 to 4. Two of the four light poles will be on top of the hill on the north side of the high school football field. While the number of light poles will be reduced the lights will be five times brighter than the amount of light currently on the football field. "I think in the lights you will notice the most difference," said Ruggles.

Bleachers

The project will include replacing the home and visitors' bleachers. The new bleachers will be aluminum which will reduce the cost of maintenance for the school district. The new bleachers will be an additional 100 seats. There will also be four aisles instead of two and they will have better handicap accessibility. The estimated cost of the home bleachers is 400,000.  The estimated cost for the visitors' bleachers is $76,000.

All-Weather track

The project includes an eight-lane all-weather track. The estimated cost of the track is $330,0000

Fence

The project includes a fence surrounding the entire sports complex at a cost of around $16,000.

Original field

The original field was constructed by the efforts of Dave Lawson and came at a total cost of about $10,000 in 1969. Not much has changed at the complex since then.

Meet the team

The evening started at the football field for the annual Meet the team. Each of this fall's athletes were introduced. Mercer County has 189 students out for sports this fall.

• Sept. 27 is "Pack the Place in Pink Night."