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Georgiana complexes aging

Earlier this school year, a light pole at the school's football stadium fell to the ground. Luckily, it was a weekend and no one was injured.

"We're lucky that it fell on a Sunday afternoon and nobody was here," Georgiana Principal Roland Pettie said. "It's well known that our football field is old. The seats were built years and years ago by just pouring concrete slabs, but those have broken. It's a real bad facility."

The stadium lights are just one of the many problems with the athletic facilities in Georgiana. The gymnasium is old and in need of many repairs, the baseball team plays on a field that looks like an abandoned lot, and the softball team relies on the city's park to host its games.

"The facilities we have are very old and very, very inadequate," Pettie said. "You just have to see to believe.

It's terrible really as far as what you would want to see and what you need, but we make do with them. About the only way to update our facilities is to start over."

Getting new lights is one of the many improvements GHS Athletic Director, Head Football Coach and Assistant Principal Keith York would like to have done.

"The lighting at the football field is one the areas we would like to improve," York said.

Pettie said the football field also is in need of new bleachers because the current concrete stands are cracking and have holes in them. He also said new fencing is needed and as well as sufficient drainage.

"There are certainly some areas that need some attention, but it's hard to put priorities on some of our facilities when we're in the financial state we're in as far as educational funding, which everybody is aware of," York said. "Someday we would like to see some improvements."

The school did add a muchnneeded field house to its athletic complex this summer. The Panthers received money from Rep. Charles Newton and Sen. Wendell Mitchell to build the butler building that is still under construction in the inside.

"It's coming along, slowly," York said. "We're a lot closer to having a nicer facility than we probably have ever had. We're just looking forward to getting it complete. We're now basically down to the inside, getting it finished up. We're doing that with mainly volunteer work."

The gymnasium at Georgiana is another eyesore. The facility needs work in the lobby area and it's outdated.

"We keep it up as well as we can, but the thing is it's very inadequate with size, seating on one side, the lobby, and the dressing room is just terrible. The plumbing's old and antiquated, and the heating is not that good. It's an old, old building. What we really need is a brand new gym. That's been the recommendation for years, but we haven't had the money for it."

Pettie said some improvements have been made to the gym such as refinishing the floors, new lights and new bleachers. He also said the gym used to serve as the dressing area for all after school athletics, before the field house was built. He said that there has also been occasions where the visiting football teams have had to dress in classrooms in the school.

"There's nothing in the gym where someone can go in, dress and shower," Pettie said. "It's not conducive to any kind of use."

The baseball field is a runndown facility on Hwy. 10 across the street from the football field and looks similar to a sandlot. The fence is in need of replacing, which Pettie said has been replaced several times, but it gets torn down.

"It's not used that much other than when our season rolls around," York said. "I just think, once again, we would like to have a nice baseball facility. We have to put things in perspective and do the best with what we've got."

Even though there are several needs at Georgiana, York is optimistic about the school's future in athletics. He said without the help of the faculty, parents and alumni, the current facilities would be in worse shape.

"We're doing a lot of things that we hadn't done in the past," York said. "It seems like our volunteer help has picked up, as far as parents chipping to help do things. Without their volunteer work, we couldn't have done or afforded some of things we've done. That has certainly helped us."