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Brickyard committee gets help

The committee considering improvements to the Thomson High School football stadium is seeking professional help.

Approximately 20 members of the Brickyard Committee met Wednesday, Aug. 9, for what Superintendent Mark Petersen called "the second of three installments to envision a better Brickyard."

After viewing web photos of bleachers, scoreboards, field houses and fields of other high school and college stadiums around the state, a decision was made to seek the help of professional architects. Dr. Petersen said a professional could tell the committee how to best utilize the limited amount of space that is available on the Brickyard grounds.

"I have no authority, right or birthright to even think about moving the Brickyard," he said.

Assistant Superintendent Jim Franklin said Craig Buckley of James W. Buckley and Associates came and looked at the Brickyard last week and will write up a proposal. Buckley and Associates is the same firm that designed the new junior high school.

Dr. Franklin said Ron Shipman of Georgia Power has also offered the services of the company's professionals who design facilities for agencies.

"So he has some people who could give us some advice in terms of what they think the stadium needs to be upgraded. We are looking for all the free advice that we can get, and that is a free service from Georgia Power," Dr. Franklin said.

Advice will be sought from other professionals as well, Dr. Franklin said, as soon as committee members provide him with the contact information. He said all the information will be available before the next Brickyard Committee meeting, which is on Sept. 13, so that a decision can be made and voters can be informed before the SPLOST IV election on Sept. 19.

Meanwhile, Thomson City Councilman Mike Carrington is trying to find an immediate solution for the limited space issue. Mr. Carrington said he is meeting with State Sen. Jim Whitehead this week to make plans to meet with officials of the National Guard Armory. Mr. Carrington said they hope to discuss the possibility of renting the Armory to use as a field house and parking area for the visiting teams.

"(The Brickyard) is a small area... We're kind of tight spaced for dressing rooms, and we thought this would be a good fix," he said.

In other Brickyard news, the McDuffie County Fire Marshal inspected the field house last week. Dr. Franklin said the old building is now being used by the middle school as a weight room.

New weight-lifting equipment was provided for the new health and physical education building that was built at the high school, Dr. Franklin said. The old equipment was then available for use by the middle school, and the field house was the only vacant space available.

The fire inspection did not require any excessive improvements. Dr. Franklin said only fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and marked exits were needed.

"We brought it up to standards for the children's safety," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, August 17, 2006

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