DOBSON — The start of the 2014 football season is just two weeks away, and Surry Central will debut a new look on the home side of its stadium.
Work began months ago in and around the home bleachers and soon will finish up with a new press box.
The first improvements were for safety and handicap accessibility, explained head coach Monty Southern. Surry County Schools provided funding to make these changes.
The bleachers had an open style, and there was a concern that a small child could squeeze between the seats and fall, so kick plates were installed to enclose the space under the benches.
There are new steps and handrails as well as a paved walkway up to a wheelchair ramp.
Plans were designed for a new press box, but those plans weren’t approved by the state until after school was out, said Southern. That meant that the builders, Stanley Home Center, had to jump on the project quickly.
In mid-July the contractor laid block and set the foundation. On Wednesday, the building frame was delivered and placed onto the foundation. Some wiring work is left to do before opening night.
The first regular-season home game for the Eagles is Aug. 29 against East Wilkes.
This press box is much larger than the old one, Southern said.
Instead of a 12-foot-by-8-foot building, this one measures 48 feet long and 10 feet deep, said athletic director Myles Wilmoth. There are partitioned spaces inside for the home team, visiting team and media.
The cost of the press box was estimated at $72,000, said Southern.
The Golden Eagles boosters provided about 95 percent of that, said Wilmoth.
East Surry has one of the finest press boxes in the state for a small school, said Southern, but this one will be second only to the Cards around this area.
“It’s one of those projects that’s been a long time coming, and it’s nice to see it,” he said.
Without the booster club, none of these improvements would have been possible, said Wilmoth. The boosters have been phenomenal the past couple of years raising funds. And not just for the construction, he added, but also helping with architectural planning and building inspections.
The boosters also provided a new high jump area for the track team. The pit, or landing area, has a removable cover to protect it from the elements.
Indoors, the boosters helped the wrestling team acquire new mats this year, Wilmoth added.
While the press box isn’t complete yet, fans can get a sneak peek of the revamped stadium next week. The football team has home scrimmages planned at 6 p.m. on two days.
The Eagles travel to Ashe County for a scrimmage on Monday, then host Bishop McGuinness on Wednesday and East Gaston on Friday.