Let us recall how, last fall, the Bryant Stadium surface was in such a condition that, more often than not, the bands couldn’t march, the dance teams couldn’t perform, the JV and B team games, seventh and eighth grade games had to be moved or cancelled. And when the freshman and high school varsity teams played, it was a quagmire that just continued to deteriorate.
A move began to replace the natural grass and mud with an artificial surface, something one school after another in the Hornets’ conference and classification has already done.[more]
Among the teams in the 7A-Central Conference, North Little Rock, Conway, Van Buren, Cabot, and Little Rock Central have all are benefitted from the switch and, of course, Little Rock Catholic plays on the War Memorial Stadium surface. Russellville, the other member of the league is actually moving down to Class 6A (while continuing to compete in the same conference), still has a natural surface but is exploring the notion of a switch.
It’s estimated that the artificial surface would save around $50,000 a year in maintenance costs. And, of course, with no postponements or cancellation of events on the field, there will be greater income potential not only during football season but for marching season for the band and soccer in the spring.
The Bryant High School Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Richard Abernathy pledged to provide matching funds of as much as half the cost of a new surface, jump-starting the process, the Bryant High School Stadium Turf Project.
There are a variety of ways to contribute. Corporate sponsors at what is being called the Super Hornet Club and the Hornet Club levels will receive a package of benefits including a 7-foot x 10-foot LegacyTurf Logo on the turf along the home side line.
There are six other levels of contribution, each with its set of benefits for marketing and advertising.
So far, four panels have been committed for donations from Larry’s Pizza; Thompson Electric; Jackson, King, Brown; and Cone Construction. Significant sponsorship commitments have also been made by Everett Buick GMC, Foxwood Sports, Creative Lines and Wal-Mart as well as the Whiteside family. Work on the project has been discounted for significant savings by All Nix (gravel), Geo-Texture (fabric) and Herman Reeves (dirt work). Others were pending as of last Thursday.
There is also a means by which individual donations will be rewarded called the Walk of Honor. Located between the Bryant Stadium ticket office at the north end of the stadium and the home stands, the walk will be constructed of bricks engraved in honor of those who contributed or whoever they would like to dedicate it to. Bricks are $100 apiece.
Bryant Athletic Director Tom Farmer said earlier this week his goal was to begin work on the project May 1 but donations are still needed before that can become a reality.
For more information and order forms for all of the donation levels and benefits, visit http://www.helpthehornets.com/