The arrival of this new year will long be remembered as a year of colossal change in Cougar Country.
The winter high school sports season has arrived, with spring sports to begin in less than three months.
When schools reopen in August, 2010, York Comprehensive High School students will be attending a brand spanking new school, with athletic facilities second to none.
The new, 6,500-seat football facility will be the largest on-campus stadium in the Tri-County area, with end zone-to-end zone seating on both sides.
The spacious home pressbox will include elevator access, with ample space for visiting coaches and radio personnel in the visitors' pressbox across the way.
The concession stand and restroom areas behind the home stands will have more space than York fans are used to.
In order to better accommodate the Cougar faithful, additional restroom facilities and concession stand will be located to the far left of the home stands near the new field house.
Visitors concession stand, restrooms and team dressing area will be located behind the opposite end zone.
This building will facilitate YCHS girls participating in spring sports as well.
An eight-lane track will encircle a synthetic playing surface for football and soccer.
The artificial turf will display a block Y at midfield and spell York in one end zone and Cougars in the other.
The new gym's floor plan, seating and upper walkway will be similar to the Clover High School gym. Seating capacity will be 2,000. The existing dome seats less that a thousand.
An auxiliary gym will be used to schedule practice times for all of the YCHS basketball teams.
The auxiliary gym leads to an open area with mats to accommodate wrestlers and cheerleaders.
The spring sports facilities (baseball, softball, tennis) will include ample parking, a centrally-located concession stand and ticket booth.
Meanwhile, the search continues for a new football coach to succeed John Barrett.
YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd said the choices are many.
“We hope to narrow the list to five or so by the end of January,” Boyd said.
Another big storyline in the new year will be York's return to 3A classification.
With Clover holding steady in the 4A ranks, the separate classifications will impact the York-Clover rivaly in all sports.
The football showdown between the neighboring schools will be held the fourth or fifth week of the 2010 season at York's new stadium, instead of the customary end of the regular season slot.
With region games scheduled to close out the season, Clover High School athletic director Carroll Hester and Boyd have to make schedule adjustments to keep the rivalry alive in all of the sports seasons.
“The York-Clover rivalry will always be there regardless of the classifications,” assured Hester. “We will continue to play York in all sports.”
Boyd is in total agreement.
“We can make it work,” he said.
Will the Cougars return to the 4A ranks when high school realignment occurs two years hence?
“It's a tough call,” admits Boyd. “Moving into a new high school is likely to attract more students.
“But the economy is uncertain. It could go either way. We'll be prepared to move on, whatever decision is made.”
Regardless of the classification breakdown, Hester said Clover fans are excited about York's new facilities.
“We're looking forward to seeing their beautiful new stadium,” he said. “We are happy for them.”