Architects update BOE on field house

COVINGTON - School architects came back to the Newton County Board of Education during its November work session to update the members on developments for the new field house at Sharp Stadium.

In October, architects from Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews & Moore presented a rough sketch to the school board of plans for the new addition. After hearing their feedback then and at another meeting, the architects reworked some plans in order to better the field house and its surroundings.

The field house is expected to be in the planned location on the west end of the property by the scoreboard. However, they have reworked some design elements to incorporate some ideas from school board members.

According to the floor plans, the two-level, 7,900-square-foot building includes two 1,500-square-foot team rooms, an upstairs officials room facing the field and concession stands.

The new plans include 500 more square feet than original plans, including more space for the concession stands and home team restroom facilities. The plans place the openings to the concession stands on the sides of the building, rather than on the back side like the first plans that were proposed; some board members were concerned of the darkness on the back side of the building and also parents not being able to see their children from the stands.

"We felt like this was a better solution than what was presented last time," architect Bob Cunningham said.

The field house also includes fencing and gates and a terrace on the top level.

School board vice chairman Rickie Corley said in October that he wanted to try to save an old block building on the site from being torn down, but the architects said the repairs would cost much more than it would to tear down.

Architects also said based on the budget, the board should be able to complete another project of its choice.

The new field house is expected to cost an estimated $750,000 to $800,000 if built conventionally - the board and administrators are discussing whether to choose between new metal seating for 2,000 visitors, adding 104 more parking spaces or a possibility of adding an artificial turf field to help with the poor and sometimes muddy field conditions.

"I'd like to be able to do it all, but it ain't going to happen," board member Cathy Dobbs said. "I want to make sure we spend that money wisely."

Architects and school system personnel are expected to gather estimated costs for the other projects to bring to the board at a later date.

The field house project could start in March in order to be ready for fall football season, which starts in September.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.