Newport High School football stadium to be replaced
NEWPORT, Ky. (WXIX) - Plans are moving forward to replace the 86-year-old Newport High School football stadium which the school has been unable to use since it failed a building inspection earlier this year.
The Newport Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to fund the first phase of an estimated $2.5 million replacement project.
Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Tony Watts says the board considered other alternatives for months including repairing portions of the failing stadium but is following the recommendation of Robert Ehmet Hayes & Associates, PLLC, Architects to demolish the existing stadium and install a 1,500-seat grandstand.
Board Member Aaron Sutherland says replacement is the best approach and most prudent use of school resources and taxpayer dollars.
Superintendent Watts says the goal is to have the new stadium ready by the start of the 2022-23 school year.
The district will finance the project with $1 million cash and $2 million in borrowed funds, according to a news release.
The release goes on to say the extra funding beyond the projected cost will be used as a cushion for potential contingencies or changes once the project is underway.
The Newport Wildcats football team has been playing on the road and practicing at Holmes High School and on the field at Newport High School which has not been impacted by the condition of the stadium.
“As long as there is grass, painted lines and some form of goalposts, we will play football,” Coach Hahn told the board. “The fans would sit in lawn chairs or in even in the back of my truck to watch this team play. We can handle whatever comes our way. Our kids are in great spirits. They just want to represent their school and play football.”
Future phases of the project, which would be completed when more borrowing capacity becomes available, could include installation of a new track and the construction of a concession stand, restrooms, locker rooms, a ticketing area, a training facility and new field lighting. The district also plans to seek private donations through a fundraising effort, the district said.
Details of the fundraising will be announced at a later date.
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