Spell told board members the idea for the project had been looming since the fall soccer season.
“It is basically been the field of dreams for us,” he said. “The soccer program began back in 1986, and after a couple years it was dropped ... It came back in 1988 and it was dropped again. In 1992 it was brought back again by a bunch of parents ... I started with the program back in 1999.”
Spell explained that when he started it was a struggle to get student athletes to come out and play for the team.
“Sometimes we would travel to Jacksonville and it would be 10-0 at halftime,” he said. “At that time, if we could get the ball across half the field it was an accomplishment. Since that time, this program has really blossomed.”
Since 2000, when the girls program and the middle school program was introduced, Spell said his teams have practiced on two campuses (CHS and SMS). “In 2009, we were lucky enough to get our own practice field and in 2010, we were blessed enough to get our own soccer stadium. For a good 11-12 years, soccer has really blossomed in this community and this county.”
The press box, Spell emphasized, was an immediate need.
“I feel that our dream is that since we have got this field now, which we are truly blessed to have, it is time to get a press box.”
Currently, the team has a table, chair and a tarp.
“If it rains, we are not able to keep the score or keep the time, it is that simple,” he attested, while showing a prepared presentation on a Smartboard.
Another issue is the announcements. Currently, an amplifier and a microphone has to be pushed out across the field for announcements.
“We have to push a cart out through the mud, and if it rains, forget it, it is ruined,” Spell explained. “A new press box building would also help us with equipment storage.”
The building proposed by Spell would be an 8x12 foot structure similar to the one used for baseball, and could be used in a multitude of events, he pointed out.
“In addition to us using it, the middle school is using it ... it could be used for school jamborees and pep rallies. Possibly powder puff football — even physical education classes could be out there too. Really, the most important thing is the kids. Soccer at Clinton High has made a humoungus jump over the years. Year in, year out, we are one of the top programs, and with this building, everything we do out there will just continue to grow.”
Spell said he had already some subcontractors who made commitments to do their labor towards the cost of the facility,” Spell said, before telling the board the building alone would cost approximately $15,000 to $20,000.
Then he added the cost of the sound system.
“That would cost about $8,000 to $10,000 because the sound system needs to be bigger,” Spell said.
“That is in addition to the initial costs?” asked board member Georgina Zeng.
“Yes,” said Spell. “But I may present that to the (CHS) Booster Club at a later date. We just want you to consider the building to complete our field of dreams.”
Board member E.R. Mason asked if the project could potentially be paid for by the Booster Club.
“It is my understanding that the Booster Club cannot do anything with Capital Outlay,” said Spell.
Board attorney Albert Kirby said the building could be a gift.
“Legally, anybody can give the system anything they want to,” he said, “legally.”
Clinton High principal Ron Bean noted that the Booster Club had an agreement with former superintendent Dr. Gene Hales that they would provide uniforms and the system would provide the facilities.
“That is a horse of a different color then,” said Kirby. “That you can’t have. They can’t have an agreement where the system does one thing for another one ...”
“It is just traditionally, the boosters have supplied uniforms and equipment,” said board chairwoman Kathleen Squibb. “They have been a tremendous support in purchasing that material for the teams.”
No decision was made on the subject.
“We appreciate you coming and we will take this under advisement for the appropriate time,” Squibb told Spell.