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New Athens Drive Stadium Construction Ongoing

Daulton Bahm, Sports Copy Editor

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Improvements for the Athens Drive High School athletic facilities are well underway, with the new football stadium being the major development.  The stadium now has bleachers and lights installed, sod planted and the construction of the concession building and press box are ongoing.

It was a long push to get the new Athens Drive stadium built.  Karin Evanoff, a parent of an Athens Drive student, advocated very hard starting in 2013 to build the stadium, citing safety concerns with the existing Williams Stadium.  After several delays and funding issues, stadium construction finally began in mid-April 2015, with a formal groundbreaking ceremony taking place May 20.  Construction continued over the summer, with sod being planted and lights being installed late that summer.  Later in 2015,  bleachers were installed for both sides of the stadium.

“It’s finally time when these kids can feel like they have an equal playing field with every other high school in Wake County and that’s what this is about,” said Evanoff last May after the groundbreaking ceremony.

The new stadium will have a slightly larger seating capacity than Williams Stadium, seating over 3,000 fans compared to 2,500 at the old stadium.  It will be located in an area behind the school that was previously used as a practice field for football, soccer and lacrosse, between the baseball stadium and the senior lot.  

Numerous other renovations will take place in the coming months, in addition to Peter Hines Williams Stadium. A new scoreboard has been installed at the baseball stadium and the tennis courts are also expected to be renovated.  The existing Williams Stadium also received new press decks and a resurfaced track this past autumn. A new practice field is being constructed between the baseball field and tennis courts that will take the place of the old practice field that was formerly located where the new stadium will be built.  Finally, new volleyball and basketball courts are included in the site plan near the new stadium.

Many student athletes and sports fans at Athens are excited for what the new stadium will offer next year.

“I’m very excited for the construction of the new stadium. Next year, I will likely attend many of the games at the stadium,” said Ryan Prusia, junior.

In addition, many Many Wake County school board members, such as Susan Evans, are also excited for the construction of the new stadium.

I’m so pleased to see us finally moving forward with this project,” Evans said.

The original Peter Hines Williams Memorial Stadium, built in 1978 at the opening of the school, will continue to be used for some sports as well as a practice facility.

The new stadium, which has not yet been named, is set to open during the 2016-17 school year for the football team.  With a new coach and a new stadium, the Athens Drive football team will have a fresh start for the 2016 season after finishing winless with an 0-11 record in 2015. Most likely, the first football game will be played at the new stadium Aug. 19.

The new stadium will allow students of Athens Drive, as well as its student- athletes, to experience more up-to-date facilities than ever before.

“It’s been a long time in coming for the Athens Drive community, and we appreciate their advocacy on this,” Evans said.

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New Athens Drive Stadium Construction Ongoing