Published: Jan 15, 2012 09:27 AM
Modified: Jan 17, 2012 01:44 AM
No previous effort for renovations to Athens Drive High School's Williams Stadium has made it this far.
Yet Jaguars booster club president Karin Evanoff is still nervous as the next Raleigh City Council meeting draws near.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the council will vote on whether Williams Stadium can be placed on the next Wake County Public School Systems construction bond.
The city will not allocate any funds to the renovations, which total almost $7.4 million and include a paved parking lot, improved lighting, a widening of the access road for emergency vehicles, a new field house, upgraded press box and a handicapped-accessible entrance and seating.
The stadium has not been upgraded since the school opened in 1978.
"I think we've made it clearly obvious how that stadium and that whole surrounding area is in dire straits and needs attention paid to it," Evanoff said. "We are concerned about (the vote), but we're also hopeful that we will see the need for this to be voted in a positive way."
Unlike other high schools in the county, Williams Stadium sits on Raleigh city property. Before WCPSS can make any improvement, it needs Raleigh's approval.
The red tape caused by the city and school's joint-land agreement confused past efforts by Athens Drive boosters.
At one point, the action for Athens Drive upgrades was tied to the Lake Johnson master plan calling for a new multipurpose and environmental building.
The two issues were separated in October, allowing the stadium renovations to proceed.
But Evanoff fears renovations would be stalled, if there is added language that ties the Athens Drive plans back to the multipurpose building.
"If that happens, we could be stuck in committee for who knows how long. And then it's back to square one again," Evanoff said. "That's the terrifying thing for me.
"A kid in a wheelchair doesn't understand that. An elderly person who has to use a walker and can't get through a parking lot with ditches they can't see because it's unpaved and we don't have good lighting doesn't understand that."
Evanoff said that Athens Drive was hoping the meeting would be later in the day, as hundreds of students, parents and faculty have told her they would go to the meeting and support the cause by wearing the school's orange-and-blue.
Evanoff has instead received almost 1,400 signatures on a petition which she plans to bring. Even parents from other schools have signed the document.
"They want their kids playing in a safe, appropriate facility too," said Evanoff.
"(Athens Drive) can be a fantastic place, but (the city) needs to continue to invest in the students and the Raleigh community."