ELIZABETHTON — Now that the Elizabethton City Council is exploring the possibility of issuing $6.1 million in bonds for a new football stadium at the high school and academic facilities expansion at T.A. Dugger Jr. middle school, city and school leaders are beginning to hold talks about building the athletic complex.
City Council members, school board members, and school administrators met in the Mack Pierce Board Room on Wednesday morning with Matt Smith, president of sales for ATG Sports, the oldest sports surfacing company in the United States.
"We don't build football stadiums, we build multi-purpose complexes," Smith said. He said the company has been in business for 30 years and produces its own synthetic turf and all weather running track surface. He said the company delivers a turnkey project and because it constructs so many projects each year, the company has a close relationship with other key suppliers, including manufacturers of lights, bleachers and scoreboards.
He said ATG works solely on building athletic facilities and because it makes its own artificial turf and track surfaces, it can pass on a 15 percent savings.
Smith discussed the benefits of going to a synthetic turf, including the chance for many other of the school's teams and organizations to use the field, the reduced maintenance costs and a safer surface for athletic competition.
ATG is located in Andover, Kansas. Smith said most of the company's projects are in the Midwest, but the company is expanding. He said 90 percent of the company's business is with schools and colleges.
The Elizabethton City Schools concept is to construct a sports complex on the west side of the Elizabethton High School campus. It would include a football field/soccer field surrounded by a regulation track. There would also be a baseball field and softball field.
The high school currently plays its home football games an Brown-Childress Stadium on the campus of T.A. Dugger. The school system administration has plans to keep Brown-Chilress as the middle school football field, but to demolish the home side grandstand in order to expand the school with additional classrooms and science labs.