Undoing the damage

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 25, 2009

JEMISON — Panther Stadium at Jemison High School is beginning to show its age. After 50-plus years of weather, ground movement and crowds, the facility is overdue for an upgrade.

Walk along the home side and you will notice several things in need of attention — old and damaged fencing, faded paint, and worst of all — cracks and broken blocks in the stadium bleachers.

But if you are a devoted Panther, it’s not time to hang your head quite yet. Jemison High School Principal Alan Thompson says the facility is salvageable, and the school is planning a step-by-step upgrade of its athletic facilities.

“We want to turn this into a community place,” Thompson said. “It’s going to benefit everyone from youth league ball to middle school and high school. It’s going to be something the community can be proud of.”

Tomorrow, the school will begin a fundraising drive just for that purpose. Phase one will be to raise funds for renovations to Panther Stadium. From Jan. 26 through Feb. 2, they will be selling Enjoy the City coupon books featuring coupons for various restaurants and other businesses in the Birmingham area.

The books will sell for $20 apiece but contain within their pages much more than that in savings.

“I save over $500 a year in services by using all the coupons in this book,” Thompson said. “It’s not only going to benefit the school, but it will also benefit the people buying them because they will save tons of money.”

The books will be available in the school’s main office and from students, who are being encouraged to sell a small number.

The initial goal is to sell $6,000 worth of the books.

“We’re starting out small, but I would like to make this an annual event,” Thompson added.

During initial renovations, the school hopes to accomplish the following:

Replace/repair fencing on stadium grounds

Replace cracked and broken blocks in the stadium seating area (home and visitor sides)

Replace concrete slabs in the seating area (home and visitor)

Repair cracks in the seating area

Put a poly-seal coating on the entire seating area to resist weather and prevent further damage

Replace fencing and safety rails in home seating area, and add safety rails to the visitor section

Replace restroom fixtures and add a new 2” waterline to allow commercial fixtures

Add restroom doors to allow use for the baseball field.