Scale back new stadium

Scaling back the size of the proposed Nation Ford High stadium could make it more acceptable for Fort Mill voters.

The Fort Mill school board will consider reducing the size of the new stadium for Nation Ford High School by 1,000 seats at its Nov. 12 meeting. The stadium is included in a package of new athletic facilities voters will be asked to approve in a March 4 referendum.

The school district decided in August that the bond package totaling $98 million will be divided into two parts on the ballot. One would include $87.2 million for two elementary schools to open in 2011 and a middle school to open in 2010.

Residents would be asked to vote separately on new athletic facilities, including an ancillary gym for Fort Mill and Nation Ford high schools and the new football stadium for Nation Ford. The initial combined cost for those facilities was nearly $8 million, with $6.165 million of that for the stadium.

Now, however, board members hope the cost of the stadium can be reduced by making it smaller. Shrinking the stadium from 6,000 to 5,000 seats also would bring it more in line with the size of Fort Mill High's stadium.

It is doubtful that Nation Ford would need a bigger stadium than Fort Mill High's. And, by reducing the size of the new stadium by 1,000 seats, the district could save up to $1 million. That could make the stadium considerably more palatable to voters.

We think district officials made the right choice in splitting the bond package into two parts. That gives voters a choice, and helps prevent opposition to a new stadium from sinking the whole bond package.

But we also think reducing the size of the stadium to cut costs was a smart move. If voters are convinced that district officials are doing everything they can to cut fat from this bond package, approval of both is more likely.