Architect presents field house plans to board

COVINGTON - Newton County Board of Education members got their first look at the proposed Sharp Stadium field house last week.

At its monthly work session, architects presented preliminary plans to the board for feedback. Previously, the architects from Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews & Moore met with school principals, coaches and other school system personnel to develop the plans.

The site plan calls for the field house to be located on the west end of the property on the paved area by the concession stands and scoreboard.

According to the floor plans, the metal-roofed building is expected to contain two 1,500-square-foot team rooms with restrooms, two sets of large restrooms for the public, a concession area with multiple storage areas and an upstairs officials station that faces the field.

Some board members expressed concern that the concession stands would be on the side of the building that doesn't face the field and stands.

Board member Cathy Dobbs said with this layout, parents wouldn't be able to see their children who go to the concessions without them.

But Chairman Almond Turner said it could eliminate the "congregating" of those who are not using the concession stands at that time.

Dobbs suggested more police officers and school resource officers could be used if the layout is necessary.

"We'd have to look at safety concerns," said school board Vice Chairman Rickie Corley.

With the new plans, the architects suggested the school system move the home ticket gate and add improvements, such as a walkway and columns, to define the entrance more than it is now.

They also suggested tearing down the old block building that is currently used for locker rooms and storage space, but Corley did not agree.

"In Newton County, we always need space," he said. "I hate tearing down a building we may need later on."

Architects said they would look at the school board's concerns to revise their plans, which are not yet complete.

"We'll have to do some rethinking, but that's why I'm here," said architect Bob Cunningham.

Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for administration at the Newton County School System, said a preliminary budget on the field house is expected in December and the school system plans to bid the project out in March.

The school board members also discussed with the architect their idea to incorporate brick stamps into the plans to help pay for the project or go toward an educational foundation.

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