A new football stadium?

By Elliot Sandberg, Reporter

For many years, when visitors came to Berea Community School, one of the most striking buildings was the Guy Duerson football stadium. The massive concrete structure served as the home of the Berea Pirate Football Team for over 40 years. However, time had taken a toll on the structure. The concrete pillars were beginning to disintegrate. As well, the stadium was not handicap accessible. For these reasons, the school district decided to tear down the stadium in 2015.  For nearly 3 years, the field remained empty after the stadium was torn down. The football team moved to play at the Farristown Middle School football field, a drive of around 10 minutes from the school. Now in 2017, the city has approved new plans to build an improved stadium.

Among the high school students, the senior class is the only class still at Berea Community that was in high school when the stadium was still at the school. Wade Bradford, a senior at Berea Community, fondly remembered his time at the stadium: “We used to run around under the bleachers the entire game, playing football and having fun.” The stadium had a unique design, with concrete pads under the stands that allowed for play during the games.

Bradford was shocked when the stadium was torn down. He said, “I always thought the stadium would be there forever, but I guess it was torn down for the right reasons.” Many students expressed their shock that the stadium was not reconstructed during their time at the school. Savannah Gabbard, a fellow senior at BCHS, said, “I thought that we would have the stadium back for our senior year.” Getting the proper funds and support for the stadium took longer than anticipated, however.

After years of waiting, plans are now in place for a new stadium, which include increasing the width of the field in order to accommodate more sports than just football. With a wider field, soccer and lacrosse will be able to host their home games on the field, drastically increasing the opportunities for revenue that the stadium can provide. As well, more students who are unable to drive across town will be able to walk to the stadium and see the games, increasing the community involvement with the teams.

The new stadium has been a long time in the process, but Berea Community students are eager to see the benefits that their patience provides. The community is ready to have Berea teams closer to home to be able to cheer on their Pirates!