By Tia Lynn Ivey
Since construction on Morgan County High School’s new campus began two years ago, MCHS’s football and soccer teams have trained without a practice field after adjustments were made in the allotted budget. A capital campaign is underway to raise the last $100K needed to fund two practice fields. The project’s anticipated completion date is this fall.
The master plan for the middle school and high school campus was created two and a half years ago. As the new high school would be constructed on the existing practice field, space was reserved for two new fields. Both campus projects were combined and put out to bid as one large job. However, construction estimates came in approximately 22 percent over the allocated budget.
MCHS Capital Campaign Consultant Kathryn Cardwell explained, “The way Morgan County does things is the Board of Education allots a budget and that’s what you’ve got. A lot of things had to get cut out of the overall plan … and the finishing of the practice fields was one of the things that got cut with the understanding that we’d have to figure out, at some point in time, how to address that. So, we knew we had the space; we just needed to raise the money.
“Luckily, our capital campaign has been very successful. We’ve got over a million dollars pledged, and some of that can go toward developing these fields, but we are at a place where we need to raise just a little bit more to make sure that we sod the fields. That’s important for both long-term and immediate use. You can’t run around on seeded fields or you’ll kill all of the grass you’ve seeded, which is why we really need to use sod.”
“These practice fields are a critical next step in the overall development and improvement of the already great and historic Morgan County High School Athletic program,” Aaron Paul, MCHS men’s soccer coach and MCMS head football coach, noted. “These fields will provide critical space that is needed for practices to help reduce the wear and tear on the beautiful Bill Corry Stadium.
“With the completion of these practice fields, the soccer program will be able to excel as a total program that Morgan County can be proud of. These fields will provide the soccer program with the opportunity to practice middle school and high school teams together or separately in close proximity, something that is critical for the development of the entire program. The same can be said for middle school and high school football.
“These fields will provide a literal ‘bridge’ that will help close the organizational and development gaps between the middle school and high school soccer and football teams. Along with the completion of the new middle school campus, the gap between the middle school and high school – both physically and in academics – will be eliminated to help better prepare our students and student-athletes for the next level.
“These fields will be able to provide not only practice space for multiple teams at one time, but also the ability to host games and practices at night to reduce the risk of heat illnesses with the addition of the field lights.”
Anne Stamps, MCHS women’s soccer coach, pointed out that the new fields will have a positive economic impact on the community: “Having two full practice fields would allow soccer to host tournaments if we choose to. This brings in money for the city restaurants and hotels.”
If you would like to help fund the fields, your tax-deductible donation can be via credit card or PayPal at OneMorgan.org or in the form of a check made out to “MCHS: A Georgia CCA Inc.” and mailed to MCHS at 1231 College Drive, Madison.