By Dewain E. Peek,
Football stadium cost estimates were given during the Overton County Board of Education work session held Thursday, June 18.
Architect John Cheney, engineer Don Collins, and senior project manager Brian Pierce of Cope Architecture attended via Microsoft Teams as did School Board Chairman Howard Miller.
Concepts for a new Livigston Academy football stadium and associated facilities were shown on the screen, beginning with a concept at the current location attempting to add a 400-meter regulation size running track.
Collins said, “We’ve got a very tight fit right there. I did not have room to put everything that will be needed for the stadium.”
The track would have encroached on the current field house.
“With that in mind, we found that we couldn’t progress this concept any further,” he said.
He then moved on to three viable concepts, with the first being on land behind the softball field. This concept would include football and soccer, but not a running track.
A concrete plaza area was included along with 1,000 seats on the visitors side and 2,500 on the home side, which would be away from the sun.
Out front of the stadium would be a ticket booth, concession stands, bus parking for visitors, and a walkway from the large parking lot to the stadium between baseball and softball fields. Also in front of the stadium would be parking spaces for 30 vehicles.
Locker rooms for both home and guest teams, were also included as well as restrooms.
“This would be a purchase of about six and a half acres,” Collins said.
The next concept was a true multi-purpose field with soccer, football, track, and areas for high jump, long jump, and shot put.
This concept would require the purchase of 9 and 1/2 acres.
School Board member Mike Sullivan asked, “Can we break down the cost now of each option?”
But they had another option to show, this one putting the entire complex on the existing football field site.
The stadium would be shifted to where the home stands could be protected from the sun.
Director of Schools Mark Winningham said, “The home section would be on the west side of the field away from the sun, so the sun would be at everybody’s back on the home side. The visitors side would be looking into the sun.”
School Board member Mike Hayes said the field house would stay in place.
Collins added, “The advantage of being here is, one, all the utilities are already in place.
“This will require the purchase of about three acres.”
Utilities would have to be relocated with the shifting of the stadium lighting to a new orientation.
Director Winningham noted one drawback to going with this particular concept.
“You also run into a time issue with that concept as well.”
Cheney agreed that it would put the football field out of service for some time.
“You’re talking about digging up the field and changing the orientation, that’s major surgery,” Cheney said.
He said the team would lose one to two years of being able to play on home field, depending on the time of the year the project was started
Sullivan asked, “Is there a cost estimate on each option here?”
Going back to the first concept behind the softball field with no running track, Collins said, “Right now, our preliminary estimate for this one is around $6.7 million,”
That estimate did not include land purchase.
He then moved to the all-in option behind the softball field.
“Your buying about nine and a half acres of property,” Collins said.
Without the property purchas cost, Collins said, “It is at $8.7 million.”
Then the cost estimate was given as $7.9 million for reorienting the current football site and adding the soccer field and running track.
Sullivan said, “If we can come up with a way, I think a whole new facility is the best. If we can afford it.”
School Board members asked how much is in the fund balance, and Director Winningham said he believed it is close to $8 million.
Hayes asked how much it would cost to just build a running track behind the softball field.
Cheney first threw out a rough estimate of $1 million to $1.4 million if purchase and grading was already completed, but Pierce said, “I think you’re looking at closer to $2 million to $2.5 million.”
He said grading the track would cost about $1 million.
“The track itself is about a million dollars,” Pierce said.
He said the entire site would have to be graded, not just the area for the track.
“You’ve got to move a lot of dirt,” Pierce said.
No decision was made on which direction the School Board would pursue. Building committee chairman Hayes set the next building committee meeting for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, immediately before the School Board regular monthy meeting, which is set for 6:30 p.m.