TRM practice field work begins

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Over the course of his winning tenure at T.R. Miller, Tiger head football coach and athletic director Jamie Riggs has only been beaten 51 times in 293 games and 22 seasons.
While only seeing 70 overall total losses in 25 total years as a head coach at T.R. Miller and Opp, the one thing at T.R. Miller he has taken a lot of slack over is the restrooms at Brewton Municipal Stadium.
Thirteen years after the first talks of a practice field and improvements to the football stadium and restrooms at Brewton Municipal Stadium began, things are starting to manifest.
Preliminary work has begun on the field behind Brewton Municipal Stadium where the new practice field and track area will be along with the demolition of the old ticket booth and south end zone concession stand at the current stadium.
“Back in the late 1990s, we recognized that athletically we needed to do some things facility-wise,” Riggs said Monday. “The first phase of all that at the time was to build a field house. We were under the stadium (home side) and things were really bad. We got that done and it has been great. That was the first phase that we wanted to do.”
Riggs said the second phase at the time was to build a dressing room and a weight room for girl’s athletics.
“We did not have that at the time,” Riggs said. “About the time we got through with the field house, we found out our gym had a problem with the beams and all and we could not play in there. We ended up having to build a new gym and it just made sense to put the girl’s things in with the new gym and we did. That has turned out fine and has been great, but we did not anticipate having to build a new gym at the time.”
Riggs said the next phase was to try and get the football team off of the baseball field and build some kind of practice football field.
With that starting to look like becoming a reality, Riggs said that would clear the way to doing work on the baseball field.
“We have basically destroyed the baseball field practicing football on it for all these years,” Riggs said. “That was the next phase of what we were trying to do. We knew we needed to do something with the stadium, particularly the home bleachers, press box, locker rooms and that type of things and bathrooms and concession stands. Basically, a remodeling of the stadium. Like I said, that started in the late 90s so this is the next phase of all this.”
Riggs said there have been some issues dealing with all the different phases.
“When you start doing things with the home bleachers, everything is time sensitive,” Riggs said. “Because we do not have anywhere else to go and play. If you do something with the stadium, you have to have it done by the next year. Because we are so tight together here, baseball or track would be interrupted. We have had to consider those things.”
Riggs said as money has become available the last year or two—the current project will be funded by a $1 million anonymous donation along with the balance coming from a bond from the new middle school and other projects—the first priority was to do something about the restrooms at the stadium.
“That was the top priority,” Riggs said. “We also, in looking what we had going on, if we built a football practice field, then that would free us up for baseball. You could not do anything with baseball until you got the football team off of that field. You can’t do anything with the track or resurface it if you are about to do something with the home bleachers.”
With that being said, Riggs said they thought the best way to handle all of the issues would be to put the new track around the new practice field. The new track is set to be similar to that used by the University of Alabama and Auburn University and will be lit.
“It allowed us to accomplish two or three things,” Riggs said of the track being around the new practice field. “It allows us to get the football team off, free up the baseball field, and it also solved the track issue when we would be ready to do the track and bleachers. It took care of those issues and the restroom issue as well.”
Originally, Riggs said, all the restrooms were going to be under the bleachers.
“With us not having the funds to do everything, and by pulling the restrooms out and putting them over here (behind the current scoreboard area along with the new concession stand), it just seemed to make more sense. The final stage will be, when funds become available, will be to redo the home bleachers and the press box.”
Riggs said that would go from there, but the final phase will be another issue.
“Space,” Riggs said. “By removing the current track, it will give us a little more space there.”
Riggs said he has been told the current project will be completed by the summer.
“We feel like some time this summer we should have the practice field available,” Riggs said. “Restrooms and concession stands should be ready by next football season. We won’t have the new track by this spring, but we can still run on the current track.”
Also doing the new renovations in the current plan, the 2011 track season will not be interrupted Riggs said.
“They can still run over here,” Riggs said. “It just solved a lot of problems. Hopefully, the current deconstruction will all be cleaned up and they will be building and we will be able to operate with the construction going on. We will start doing things out there around February so we have a couple of months here that maybe the construction will be far enough along.”
As for design of the new complex, Riggs said people should be pleased.
“There will be many, many, many, many restrooms,” Riggs said with a laugh. “I think that it is something that we have needed for along time and something the people of Brewton will pleased with the restroom situation. Involved with this will be a new ticket booth and the restrooms in the (south) corner of the stadium along with the concession stand (with windows on both sides for football and the new track complex). There will be a cemented area out there which will be nice and it should dress up this south entrance of the stadium.”
Riggs said hopefully with the other phase, the north end will be dressed up as well.
“We will tie end the baseball field and that end together once funds become available,” Riggs said. “We are excited about all this. It has been a long time. It is nice to see them out there doing it. I appreciate everyone that has had a part in getting it done. Not only will be this good for our school and something for them to use, but also for the community, particularly the restrooms. We have needed that badly now for a long time. Hopefully, we will be able to service more people with this setup.”
The area is in the drawings to be one common area behind the current scoreboard area with restrooms and concession area that will service both home and visitor fans.
“It should be a large enough area that hopefully people can get in and out of,” Riggs said. “By extending the fence in the south area, we should have enough of that area.”

About Adam Robinson

My name is Adam Robinson and I have been the Sports Editor of the Brewton Standard since September 2007. I cover all the local sports in the Brewton area. I am a 2007 graduate of Troy University with a degree in Print Journalism with a contract in Sports Information. I married Shari Lynn in June of 2007 and we welcomed our first child, Hatlee, in April of 2010.

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