The biggest obstacle halting the progress of Smith-Cotton Stadium at Jennie Jaynes Complex thus far is the weather. As it is unpredictable, the construction crew has been waiting on it, and since we are in the middle of winter right now, things are not looking like they will pick up anytime soon.
Rob Davis, activities director at Smith-Cotton, and Dennis Paul of Septagon Construction both believe weather has been a big factor in making headway toward completing the stadium. Because of the weather, Paul said there have only been five days to make any progress on the stadium. Even though the deadline is not solid, and 60 extra days were spent on the design process, Paul said he thinks the new stadium will be done this fall; however, Paul said he believes the first football game of the 2014 season will not be played in the new stadium.
On Thursday, March 6, crews were able to do some grading work on the site, located behind SCHS. Despite the delays, Paul said, “It’s gonna be a very nice stadium.”
Davis said since the weather has been so bad, the deadline for stadium completion has been moved from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1, but progress right now is slow. Paul also said if the new stadium is not completed in time for the start of football season, the old Jennie Jaynes Stadium will serve once again as the home of the football team until the new stadium is completed. Other problems adding to the stress of getting the stadium finished include getting the rest of the private funding and awarding contracts, Paul said.
Paul said features being added to the new stadium include more home seating compared to that of the old Jennie Jaynes Stadium. There also will be permanent visitor bleachers. Davis describes the new stadium of having a “wow” factor. The new stadium is said to resemble a smaller version of Faurot Field in Columbia, home of the University of Missouri Tigers. Davis also described the field’s layout, which includes a ground-level walk-in, featuring a bowl-style field. Upgrades include synthetic turf, an all-weather track, separate restrooms and concessions for home and away teams, and better security. One possibility is a video board scoreboard.
The new stadium will provide lots of benefits for the Smith-Cotton athletic department. Brad Hagedorn, physical education teacher and track coach at SCHS, said the new stadium will be an advantage for track athletes because they will be able to train and practice even when the weather is bad. He also thinks workouts for the track team will improve and injuries will be reduced. In addition, Smith-Cotton will be able to host bigger and better track meets, and the athletes will be able to compete in front of their friends and family, instead of doing as much traveling as they are forced to now.
Wade Norton, SCHS principal, wants the new stadium to tell other schools in the West Central Conference to “get ready.” The statement, “We compete now,” is the attitude that Norton wants players and coaches to have in their minds entering their seasons. Norton also said he believes the stadium represents a “new beginning” for the community, and that once the public sees the finished stadium, they will be pleased and impressed.
Ryan Boyer, now head coach for the SCHS football team, said he thinks the new stadium will be beneficial because practice can start sooner, the students won’t have to travel across town to get to practice, and weather will not be a factor in deciding when to have practice. Boyer’s goal is to put a product on the field that will instill pride in the town of Sedalia. Boyer said that being on the new field as quickly as possible will be good, but switching from the old Jennie Jaynes Stadium will require some adaptation.
The progress and timeliness of the construction and completion all rests on the weather. Sure, the stadium will get done, but time will tell if the weather slows down progress more than it already has. The construction crew is hoping that warm, dry days will follow into the spring and summer seasons, and construction will finally get moving at a good pace.
Regardless, of the hurdles, Paul said, “Things are moving very nicely.”