Construction crews are working overtime to have Bay High School's football stadium ready for use by a September 26th completion date. The J.D. McCullough Stadium has already been revamped with new bleachers on both the home and visitor sides. Renovations also include a brand new turf field, and while the field was set to be done before the start of school, unexpected complications pushed the completion date back to the middle of football season.
The sound of construction is music to the Bay St. Louis community’s ears. Work on the J.D. McCullough Stadium was put to a stop in June after crews hit a water table under the field. Soil testing had to be done to ensure that work could continue without issue and after those results came in, crews began work on installing an artificial turf field. Will Seymour, the Bay High Athletic Director, says, “It's a good thing for our community because it is a small community and Friday nights are big for people around here and to the coaches that work hard and the kids that work hard, it's nice to have something you can be proud of.”
Bay High has four home football games scheduled for the season, but unfortunately half of those will be before the September 26th field completion date. Hancock High School's stadium will play host for Bay High's home games until the field is ready. Dr. Becky Ladner, the Superintendent of the Bay-Waveland School District, says, “Unless of course they finish early and we may be able to get three home games in out of the four home games, but we're very excited and things are back on track.”
Although the field is mostly associated with football, other sports such as the soccer team will also reap the benefits have having a turf field. Turf is being seen in more and more fields throughout the state. A big draw to the artificial grass is how well it is able to displace water, avoiding a huge mess when rain interrupts a game. Seymour also says, “If it's wet, if it's raining, the ground is not secure. With the turf, you don't have to worry about that. It rains and it drains water pretty fast so the conditions aren't as bad as on a natural turf field.”
In addition to field conditions, the Bay St. Louis school district sees the new field as an overall community benefit. Ladner also says, “It's good for the school district, but it's good for the community. It's a great motivational tool to get kids to want to come out and play football and soccer knowing that they do have a state of the art facility.”
Bay High will play St. Stanislaus on October 10th in their first home game after the field is complete.