Elizabethton board concerned over old stadium's grandstands

John Thompson • Updated Jan 20, 2016 at 8:23 PM

ELIZABETHTON — One of the reasons for building Citizens Bank Stadium at Elizabethton High School was because of the deteriorating condition of the home grandstands at Brown-Childress Stadium, where the Cyclones football team played its home games for half a century.

Fans no longer pack the grandstands, and the home grandstands for T.A. Dugger Junior High School have been shifted to what used to be the visitor’s side of the field, but the Elizabethton City School Board expressed concerns during Tuesday’s meeting that someone could be injured at the old grandstands.

Chairwoman Rita Booher told the board the concrete is so badly crumbling that “I could put my had through a hole as far as I wanted to go.” Several members said the safety of the stands looks deceiving because they have been well maintained with fresh paint and a good appearance.

“All that is holding it up may be paint,” Booher said.

The grandstand will be marked off by tape, but access to the press box above the grandstand will still be used, Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour said.

The fate of the grandstands was already numbered because plans for classroom expansion at T.A. Dugger will require the removal of the stands.

In other matters, the board unanimously approved three resolutions.

The first was in support of voluntary quality pre-kindergarten education and to urge members of Tennessee communities and members of the state legislature to understand the benefits and help ensure that existing and additional state revenue be allocated to provide quality early childhood education for 4 year olds from poor families.

Board member Grover May, an obstetrician, spoke strongly for the resolution, saying this is the age when children’s brains are rapidly growing. Fellow board member Susan Peters said opposition is based on a single study. May replied that criticisms of the program negelect the fact pre-K succeeded in what it was trying to do.

The board voted unanimously for the resolution opposing the use of TNREADY data for teacher evaluations for the 2015-16 school year.

May also spoke strongly in support of this resolution. “TNReady is not ready,” May said. “We are going to lose good teachers because of better demographics” he warned because teachers would seek out the upper level schools that already have many advantages to guarantee superior results on the evaluations.

Once again, the board voted unanimously for the resolution.

The final resolution urged state legislators to vote against school voucher legislation. It also was approved unanimously.

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