A refreshing change

Andreas Combos, Sports Editor

Back when Athens Drive High School first opened in 1978, Williams Stadium was a state of the art facility. Flash forward over 35 years later, and the football stadium is outdated, unsafe and unconducive to success on the field.

However, in recent weeks, I’ve noticed something glaringly different about the Athens campus: The sights and sounds of construction. The groundbreaking of the new stadium has officially begun. After driving through the senior lot the other day, I came to a realization that Athens, yes, Athens Drive High School, was going to get a new stadium. There were plans made months ago, but I was never going to believe it until I saw it.

Because of the recent history of Athens athletics facilities, the construction of this new stadium is a groundbreaking change, no pun intended.

Let’s just face it – Athens Drive has recently been a step behind many other Wake County Schools in terms of athletic facilities. Our tennis courts are unplayable. Our lower gym is ancient. In addition, as other Wake schools have made constant progress on their facilities, a long list can be made for the insufficiencies of Williams Stadium, including the unsafe dim lighting, the concessions, the inaccessibility for the handicapped and the inconvenient proximity to the school.

It makes me ecstatic to see that these problems are finally beginning to be addressed. Athletes who represent Athens will not only be able to feel more comfortable in the future playing inside a more satisfactory facility, but they will gain an unwavering feeling of school pride.

Fans, whether it be students, teachers or parents, will also gain this same increase in school pride. I’m a lover of football, and almost nothing beats being at a game in person. When a facility, like Williams Stadium, is not up to par, it can take away from the experience of being at a game. The students of Athens are some of the most school spirited and passionate fans in the area, but they’ve always lacked a facility that can match this morale. The new stadium addition will provide exactly this boost that the fans need.

While this change is welcome in the best interest for Jaguar athletics, I am pleased that the historic Williams Stadium will remain in place, undergoing its own renovations, to preserve tradition.

As a junior, I will graduate before the new stadium will be ready for competition in the 2016-17 school year. However, that doesn’t stop me from feeling incredibly refreshed from seeing the ground being dug up, trees being chopped down and the construction beginning to pick up speed. Refreshed because it means opportunity for everyone associated with Athens Drive High School.

I am hoping this opens the door for other improvements to Athens Drive, and not just with athletic facilities.

Many aspects of high school, especially going to sporting events, we remember as students for the rest of our lives. The construction of this new stadium will be able to preserve these memories for generations of Athens students in the future.