If they build it, they will stay.

That’s part of the reasoning behind Vidalia High football coach Mike Norris and Ferriday High football coach Stanley Smith’s desire for new turf football fields for both schools.

Norris said he has had positive conversations with the Concordia Parish School Board Building and Grounds Committee for the projects, which will total approximately $1.3 million.

GeoSurfaces of St. Gabriel are over the projects, which include putting in new turf, painting the fields and putting 8-lane tracks at Vidalia and Ferriday Lower Elementary.

A track cannot be put around the field at Ferriday High because bleachers and the fieldhouse would have to be removed.

The track would be a short walking trail from the high school.

Only the visitor’s bathroom would have to be torn down and re-assembled further back  at Vidalia High.

Ferriday Lower used to have a track that is now worn down, but is ideal for a new one that would be close to the school.

Vidalia track coach Kale Davis only has to look back to 2018 when Vidalia and Ferriday had several athletes competing at the LHSAA state track meet at LSU in Baton Rouge.

“I was talking to Stanley and we both were saying how great it was for us to be this well represented when we didn’t even have a track back home,” Davis said. “This would put a positive light on our community and give more kids another option.”

The facelifts would mean so much for the athletes, schools and community.

I will not only be disappointed if the Concordia Parish School Board does not approve the project, I will be disappointed if it’s not unanimous.

These projects have school pride written all over it.

And what it means for both football programs is cost-worthy enough, but this goes way farther than that — youth programs, fund-raisers, easy maintenance, environment friendly and so much more.

Mangham High recently put in a new  indoor football facility and track through a school bond.

Mangham’s football team upset Ferriday this past year and went undefeated in District 2-2A, which consists of Ferriday and Vidalia.

“Talking to people in Mangham, there is no doubt their new facilities had a lot to do with their success,” Norris said. 

Dragon head football coach Scott Wilcher said the new facilities have helped the program.

“The kids see something is going on,” Wilcher said. “They are proud of it. It builds pride.”

Monterey was recently approved a new $3.2 million gym. 

This new gym and stage is going to be awesome for that community.

And it should give boys and girls basketball players much more pride in practicing and playing home games.

And, most important in my eyes, home playoff games. Monterey teams have had to play at Jonesville, Vidalia or elsewhere for a home playoff game lately.

When the community gets behind something, the students get more excited.

I said before the recreational complex by the municipal complex was built that I was anxiously waiting to see the fields lit up from the busy highway.

And now, traveling down that same highway and looking at a new sparkling Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium from highway just adds so much more to Vidalia High.

This is not a win-win situation. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.

The bottom line is that it’s for the students.

And don’t they deserve something really good at this time?


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