Ground broken on new fieldhouse

Published 11:30 am Friday, June 29, 2012

Football has been played at Vicksburg’s Memorial Stadium since 1956. Thursday, a new chapter in the facility’s long history was started.

Ground was broken on what will become the facility’s newest addition, a brand new fieldhouse, for the Vicksburg High Gators.

Vicksburg Warren School District superintendant Dr. Elizabeth Swinford, all five members of the Board of Trustees, along with a handful of elected officials and business people, attended the 30-minute groundbreaking ceremony outside the stadium. Construction on the $750,000 facility began today and is scheduled to open in time for the 2013 season.

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Rising Vicksburg High junior quarterback Tavares Johnson Jr. was excited to see the work begin and looks forward to the new amenities.

The facility will have a spacious weight room, coaches’ offices, training area and separate film and locker rooms.

“My dad (Vicksburg coach Tavares Johnson Sr.) has said if ‘you look good, you play good,’” Johnson said. “This new fieldhouse is going to give us a much better environment to be in.”

Ben Shelton has been a Vicksburg High assistant coach for the past four years and he played for the Gators from 2000-04. Shelton believes the fieldhouse would not have happened without the support of the board and the community.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Shelton said. “It shows the community has got our backs. What I’m looking forward to the most will be the new film room. It’s really going to help us with game preparation. Instead of being all in one room, we’ll have a separate weight room and coaches’ offices.”

Former Cooper High School coach Gene Allen said he is amazed at how Memorial Stadium continues to evolve.

“It shows how much we keep growing,” Allen said. “This is another step toward building a championship-level program.”

Board of Trustees President Bryan Pratt said, with the completion of an expanded facility at Warren Central it was time for Vicksburg High’s needs to be addressed.

“Because it was a lot more expensive to just renovate, we agreed on a totally separate building,” Pratt said. “We want to invest in our students. We want to enrich their athletic experience and make them well-rounded people.”