On schedule for kickoff Powell: New football field nearing end zone

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Berryville Bobcats will be playing their first home game on a new football field Friday, Sept. 7.

Superintendent Owen Powell said construction on the new sports complex has been making steady progress this summer. The sports complex will include a new football field, baseball field, softball field and an eight-lane regulation track around the football field.

“A lot of people aren’t happy with this dry weather, but it has really helped us catch up,” Powell said. “From the starting date, we missed about 30 days from winter to spring because of rain. They’ve been able to get a lot of work done on the site this summer and haven’t missed a day since May.”

Most of the turf for the field has already been laid down, he said.

“The lettering, numbering and striping need to be done,” Powell said. “As the construction crew says, ‘the carpet has been laid.’ They’re going to spread the rubber pellets around, which gives the field turf its softness.”

He said the field should be finished in the next week or two.

“There’s still a lot of work to do on the sports complex, such as getting the stands up and building the concession stand,” Powell said. “By our first home game on Sept. 7, we’ll be playing football out there.”

He continued, “Seeing the turf laid down and the progress being made gives you a sense of pride. We’re excited to see it all come together.”

The sports complex is part of a $24 million construction project, paid for in part through a millage increase approved by the district’s voters in September 2017. The project will include a new 98,000-square-foot high school for grades 10 through 12 on the east campus, which contains the current middle and high schools; new 22,000-square-foot cafeterias for both the middle and high schools; and new 22,000-square-foot media centers for both the middle and high schools. The project also includes renovating and converting the 1942 high school into an administration building.

Additionally, the project involves the demolition of the middle school’s west wing, the media center, the cafeteria, the back of the 1942 high school and the small buildings around the campus.

While high school students will move into the new building, middle school students will remain in their current building, and fifth-graders will be relocated to the east annex on the east campus to free up classrooms at the intermediate school and accommodate the rising enrollment on the west campus, where the elementary and intermediate schools and Bobcat Arena are located.

The new high school will be built on the site of the current football field on the east campus and will open for students in August 2019.

Powell said the district is waiting on final approval from the state department for new high school construction plans.

“The plans for the new middle school cafeteria and media center have already been approved,” he said. “We’re just waiting on final approval of the high school plans now.”

Once the construction plans are approved, he said the district will put the project out to bid for about two to four weeks.

“We’ll narrow our choices down and take them to the Berryville School Board for a vote on which to choose,” Powell said. “These new facilities will be something the district and community can be proud of.”

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