BATESVILLE – Time is of the essence as the renovation of South Panola’s football stadium gets underway.
Members of the school district’s maintenance staff took apart and dismantled the former visitors’ stands in early April.
South Panola won the bid of the south endzone stands of the University of Mississippi’s Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The maintenance staff has been sandblasting those stands.
"We got those stands at about half or less than half the cost of new stands," said Dr. C.L. Stevenson, superintendent of South Panola School District. "Our new stands are someone else’s old ones."
Pope School has been the recipient of some of those stands for its athletic competitions at the school.
The new stands will provide around 4,000 additional seats more or less. That, coupled with the existing west side – which will become the visitors’ side – seats 2,500 to 3,000 allowing the stadium to seat nearly 7,000 fans.
"We’re exciting about being able to provide more seating," Stevenson said. "It’s not long until August 28 and we have a lot of work being done."
Stevenson said it is going to be a challenge to put the stadium or "puzzle" back together.
"We are pleased to have a good maintenance department to help us to manage material. That’s a real plus," Stevenson said.
Mike Williams, head of the maintenance department, said the district was able to save a lot of money using the available help to dismantle the old stadium seats.
Panola Construction Co. of Batesville won the bid to lay the foundation and concrete for the new seats.
Right now Panola Construction is working on the site and digging footings, according to Stevenson.
Gray Little of Grenada won the bid for the erection of the steel beams and aluminum seating.
The school district is in the process of advertising for bidders to build two concession stands, two sets of restrooms and a ticket booth.
"Sealed, written bids will be received for the construction of concession/toilet/ticket facilities at the South Panola High School Football Field. The work for this contract generally consists of earthwork, foundation, structure of the building, plumbing, electrical, masonry and finishes," the legal states.
The entire legal may be found in today’s edition of The Panolian.
Bids for this work will be accepted until 2 p.m. May 21, 2003.
"Bids will be awarded to the lowest and best bid," Stevenson said.
Plans for the home side also provide for a new pressbox, but that will not be completed this year.
Moving of the pressbox would also mean moving of the wires for the scoreboard and playclock.
As time is of the essence, Stevenson does not think there is enough time to get everything moved and functioning without glitches by the first game.
So with time and money playing factors this year, the plans may take a couple of years to be completed. If there is only enough money for one set of bathrooms, that is what will be done, according to Stevenson.
"Tickets prices will not be affected at this point," Stevenson said.
The parking lot of Batesville Jr. High will become the home parking lot, according to Stevenson. A walkway will be built by the district, not by the contractors, to make the walk from the parking lot to the field easier.
The district is looking to make handicapped parking closer to the stadium, according to Stevenson.
The entire construction project is expected to stretch from the back of the north endzone to the back of the south endzone. The stadium seats will stretch from the 25 or 30 yard line from the north to the same distance from the south, according to Stevenson.
South Panola is not the only team in the district with east side as the home side. Clarksdale, Starkville and Columbus also have this set up.