Fort Mill Times

Nation Ford stadium design is next task for school district

NFHS Principal Beverley Bowman
NFHS Principal Beverley Bowman

What can you get for $5 million?

Fort Mill School District voters will get a better idea what the answer to that question might be next month when the school board is expected to choose an architect to design the 5,000 seat stadium at Nation Ford High School at a meeting scheduled for Monday, April 7.

District construction consultant Jim Britton of Southern Management plans to have a recommendation for the board by that meeting. So far, he has been given only a few simple criteria to attract bids on the project.

"My marching orders are 5,000 seats, aluminum structure, concessions and restrooms included," Britton said. "The latest estimate is $5 million."

Whoever gets the job will face a challenge in getting all 5,000 seats to fit, Nation Ford Principal Beverley Bowman said.

"There's not much on the visitors' side now," she said. "And it's small on the home side. There's not much space between the field and the road."

Bowman said she wants to start working with the architect the day after the board announces the winning bidder. She plans to visit other similar size high school stadiums with comparable price tags to identify ideas she likes and doesn't like.

"I'm assuming it will be a joint effort," Bowman said. "I hope to involve coaches and administrative staff, district office staff, maybe some booster parents, people involved in athletics, that know what will be needed."

Britton said a detailed project timeline is not complete and would depend in part on the design. However, the district is planning for the stadium to be ready for use at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. Until then, Nation Ford will continue to share Fort Mill High's Bob Jones Stadium.