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Alabama H.S. To Open $3.8 Million Football Stadium Next Month

July 5, 2011 / Football
Al.com, Josh Bean

http://highschoolsports.al.com/news/article/-5840082372283150571/field-of-dreams-saraland-will-open-new-38-million-football-stadium-this-fall/

SARALAND, Alabama — Saraland will finally play a home football game this season.

Only a few details remain to be finished at the Spartans’ on-campus stadium — the newest along the Gulf Coast — that sits just a deep post pattern away from Interstate 65. The artificial turf has been installed for weeks, bleachers have been completed and the school’s Spartan logo is emblazoned on the brick facade and at midfield.

“I haven’t seen every stadium in the state, but I’d put our place up against anybody’s,” Saraland coach Jeff Kelly said while giving a tour of the new facility. “This is as good a place as any to watch a ball game.”

The $3.8 million project includes a 4,003-seat stadium, artificial turf, 300 chairback seats, a concession/restroom facility, brick ticket booths, handicapped-accessible walkways to the seating areas and a 5,000-square-foot fieldhouse that includes a locker room, training room, storage and coaches’ offices.

Saraland played its home games at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium in Mobile last season — its first in AHSAA varsity action — on Thursday nights.

 The Spartans officially debut the stadium in the season opener Aug. 26 against Mobile Christian.

“We want a place for our kids to call home,” Saraland Superintendent Wayne Vickers said. “It will be the first Friday night of football at Saraland. When you look at it in those terms, you can see how special it is.”

The artificial turf may be the stadium’s signature feature, considering its installation means Kelly and his staff will never have to line the field or cut grass. Lining the field ordinarily takes at least 3 hours for each home game on a grass surface, Kelly said.

Saraland’s end zones are painted a deep red, creating a stark visual contrast with the 100 yards of green turf between the goal lines.

The stadium will be used for multiple purposes — middle school and junior varsity football, soccer games, football practice and graduation — so limiting field maintenance made sense.

“The reason most people are going to the turf is the (lack of) upkeep,” Vickers said.

Construction of the new stadium completes Saraland’s on-campus athletic complex, which also includes baseball and softball fields, a multi-purpose physical education field and parking. For football season, Kelly said, fans can purchase a season-ticket package that includes reserved parking near the stadium.

Hired earlier this year, Kelly said he has been impressed with the attention to detail surrounding the stadium design. Electrical and water outlets on the sidelines, for instance, will be a major boon during games.
 “There was a lot of thought put into every little thing,” he said.
 The interior of the fieldhouse has not been completed, but lockers have been installed. Smaller projects, such as installation of carpeting, will likely be finished in mid-July.

“If we get in there by August, we’ll be fine,” Kelly said.


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