Halifax County Schools proposes $9M new athletic complex

The stadium would be a community stadium and regional economic driver

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

Halifax County school leaders are proposing a new sports stadium for their students because they say the county desperately needs something state of the art.

It would be the only stadium of its kind in this part of Virginia, and school officials say while there is a cost, the money it would bring in far outweighs it.

Halifax and South Boston are small, tight-knit communities. It's the kind of town where business owners know their customers, and sports are a big part of that.

"We have good business from the local sports teams," Frutopia Owner Vinny Sarnataro said. "You support them, they support you back."

The Halifax County Comets play just up the street at a stadium that has barely been touched since it was built in 1965.

"As soon as you put your eyes on it, you say 'gosh this needs work, it needs work,'" Halifax County Schools superintendent Mark Lineburg said. "And I don't think it's just a matter of slapping paint on it."

New paint will go on, but not until the bleachers come down and an entirely new stadium goes up. Projected costs are nearly $9 million, and while the funding has not been identified just yet, the plan is to find sponsors to help get it done.

"We really see it as a county stadium, as a county stadium for everybody to use and right now it's just very restrictive for us, the facility is in bad shape and not very usable," Lineburg said.

A brand new turf field makes it truly multipurpose. The school estimates 300 plus usable days a year for rec teams, travel sports tournaments, graduations, band events, concerts and more.

"This is something every kid in our community and our school division can eventually enjoy whether it be an outdoor graduation, whether it be physical education class, soccer, football, band, it's time for us to fix it up. The need is there, the question is how do we do this," Lineburg said.

The school division is also looking at what kind of money it would bring in for the local economy. Friends, family and athletes all need to eat, drink and fuel up. It stands to benefit local businesses like Frutopia.

"At first I was skeptical, but when I looked at the big picture, I saw the opportunity that we have for the community to come together," Sarnataro said.

The next step in the plan is to bring it before the school board for the first time next month. The superintendent would love to see some Friday night lights next fall.

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