Jemison’s Panther Stadium gets facelift

Published 8:34 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Most people look forward to high school football, but fans of the Jemison Panthers have another reason to get excited.

The newly refurbished Panther Stadium is ready for a new season, which will kick off next Thursday night, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m., as the school faces its longtime rival Chilton County High School.

Fans should notice some significant improvements from last year, Jemison High School Principal Alan Thompson said.

“It’s just amazing, the difference,” he said.

Remember the large cracks along the back of the home bleachers? Those are gone now, and the damaged concrete has been replaced with all new material. The stadium also has a fresh coating of outdoor paint and sealant, accented by panther paws on the numbered seat section.

New fencing has replaced that which was damaged, and brand new safety rails now stand in the visitor section.

Other changes include the addition of a handicap parking area, a repainted concession stand, and bathrooms with commercial plumbing fixtures.

“This will complete our task for Phase 1,” Thompson said, noting that Phase 2 will involve increasing the stadium’s seating capacity.

Thompson named many individuals and groups that have donated time, money and efforts. A complete list of donors appears just outside the home entrance.

Fundraising efforts and donations totaled $20,735 from this past spring, when the project was started.

Those who attend Thursday’s game will see 25-second play clocks donated by Coca-Cola. Thompson added that the Jemison-CCHS game will be sponsored by Allstate.

“They’re actually going to do logos on our field, just like a college game,” he said. “They will also have the Humvee here that night.”

During a pre-game ceremony at 6:45, the school will present plaques to several dignitaries who have helped with the project. These include Rep. Jimmy Martin, Sen. Hank Erwin, Mayor Eddie Reed, members of the Jemison City Council, and Rep. Cam Ward.

A jamboree game will also be held this Friday night as the Panthers take on the Marbury Bulldogs.

Fundraising efforts will continue with another coupon book sale and a steak dinner. The coupon books feature many restaurants and other businesses in the Birmingham Metro Area and are available from the school office for $20 apiece.

The school’s athletic club is hosting a steak dinner fundraiser Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., at the school. The cost is $100 per plate, and a portion of the proceeds will go into a $10,000 grand prize. Everyone who purchases a ticket will have an chance to win.

For more info, call the school office at 280-4860.