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Gilmer Buckeyes to debut renovated stadium

By Christina Lane
Aug. 27, 2013 at 10 p.m.


GILMER - When the <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/etvarsity/high_school/schools/gilmer/" target="_blank">Gilmer Buckeye</a>s play their first home game Thursday night, they'll be in a newly renovated football stadium that just opened to the public this month.

Gilmer ISD recently completed a $2 million stadium renovation that included new home-side stands and a new press box to serve the crowds that fill Buckeye Stadium during football season.

"We're very proud. We've had a lot of good times in the stadium, and we're going to continue that," said Gilmer ISD Superintendent Rick Albritton. "The whole community participates in this event. It's not just a football game."

The district used money in its fund balance (similar to a savings account for school districts) and took out a $1.5 million maintenance bond to renovate the 51-year-old stadium, Albritton said. District taxpayers did not have to vote on the maintenance bond, which will be paid off in 14 years, and it did not affect the tax rate.

Fans have seemed to be pleased with the results of the renovations, as the district has sold almost all of its 1,028 orange chair-back seats, Albritton said.

In renovating the stadium, the district expanded its home-side seating from 2,000 seats to 3,000 seats. Fourteen additional women's restroom stalls and eight additional men's restroom stalls also were added.

The press box length was extended 24 feet on both ends, making it 142 feet long. The width remained the same at 16 feet; however, it is elevated 25 feet higher.

The press box contains space for visiting coaches and radio stations, scouts, media, the announcer, scoreboard operator, radio and film crews and others. The Gilmer coaches will be seated in a room that looks directly out on the 50-yard line.

Borrowing from a tradition established by Texas coach Mack Brown, Albritton said the "Home of the Buckeyes" logo is backlit, and the lights will be turned on when the team wins an away game as a victory signal to Gilmer residents.

The Buckeyes will take on the Atlanta Rabbits at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Buckeye Stadium.

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