RAVENSWOOD - It’s a green light for the home of Red Devil Football.
The Jackson County Board Of Education voted to give the go-ahead for the replacement of the entire bleachers on the west side of Flinn Field at its meeting Thursday night. The decision was music to the ears of those who have spearheaded the ongoing fund-raising project to revamp Flinn Field in preparation for the upcoming “100 Years of Red Devil Football” season and celebration.
The BOE had already earmarked $250,000 to replace north and south sections of concrete bleachers on the current visitors’ side which were condemned and demolished in July, 2013. A small set of temporary bleachers were brought in to serve during the 2013 season until plans and funds could be generated for new structure.
But to fulfill the desire of project organizers to return the home side to its original location (the current visitors’ side) with the all new bleachers, including replacing the existing central section, the fund-raising project was begun.
Response has been tremendous with over $83,000 of the community’s $117,400 matching share of the cost of the bleachers ($367,400) already contributed. The fund drive continues.
In response to the show of support, the BOE voted to green light the replacement of the entire west side bleachers with construction to begin immediately with a target date of having the new bleachers finished in time for the season opening football game August 29 versus Wahama.
A new pressbox planned for the new home side (estimated at an additional $115,000-$120,000) will be added as a Phase 2 of the Flinn Field project when additional funds are raised.
“By doing all the bleachers at once, we were able to get a better price,” said Jackson County Superintendent of Schools Blaine Hess. “The Ravenswood community has always been solid as far as contributing to projects. The board knows that and it made their decision to give the go-ahead for the entire bleachers an easier one.
“I’m so proud of the Ravenswood community, businesses, high school staff and all those involved in making this happen.”
The new bleachers will feature a red theme with black fencing in keeping with school colors, Hess said.
RvHS Principal Jo Hendricks said the school staff and project organizers are thrilled with the support shown by the community, Board of Education and everyone for helping the Flinn Field project come together.
“It’s always great when a plan comes together,” said Hendricks. “ We have received compliments from both the Superintendent and Board on how proud they are of the community here and everyone who has worked and continues to work on this project. The Board’s support has been phenomenal, and we are very appreciative of their decision to front us the money to get all the bleachers replaced at once.”
Page 2 of 2 - Hendricks said the contrator has guaranteed that the new bleaches will be ready for football season.
“We still have a ways to go to raise our share of the cost, and all donations are welcome and still needed,” Hendricks said. “We still want to build a new press box as well and make other improvements. All donations, big or small, are important to us--every $100 is important, every cent. We recently had a person donate a bag of pennies. It’s all important in reaching our goal. We want everyone to be part of this. We’re so excited to see this happen and come together.”
Hendricks said the June 1 donation deadline was necessary to help with the decision concerning the go-ahead for the bleacher replacement. The next deadline will be around August 6 for any contributors wanting to make a donation this year and for inclusion on signage and in the special centennial program.
Red Devil coach Mick Price echoed the statements of Hess and Hendricks with regard to the overwhelming contribution response to date.
“We’re tickled that this is coming together,” said Price. “Our businesses, our community, everyone has been great. It shows what kind of people we have here and how much they support our kids. This is going to be something that we all can take pride in. Getting those bleacher in for our 100 Years season is huge. We’ve had businesses, groups, classes, individuals and memorial donations made already. We just need people to continue to contribute. We still have a ways to go to pay for the bleachers themselves and then for a new press box and other improvements we want to make.”
Additional upgrades and enhancements are needed to maintain the stadium and to make it one of the best high school stadiums in West Virginia, as well as allow adequate seating to host playoff games.
A Stadium Account will be set up a Ravenswood High School for the purpose of collecting funds toward this project. Progress will be advertised toward the goal and persons can call the school at 304-273-9301 for a progress report tor details. All contributions are tax-deductible, and will go to Flinn Field improvements. Members of the bleacher committee include Lucy Harbert and Jennifer Fox.
For more information, contact any of the following: Mick Price, RvHS Athletic Director/RvHS Head Coach, e-mail: goreddevils@Hotmail.com; Steve Titus, RvHS Football Boosters President; Ethel Lemley, RHS Financial Secretary, e-mail: email@example.com; Jo Hendricks, RHS Principal, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Jimmy Frazier, RHS Assistant Principal, e-mail: jgfrashi@access.K12.wv.US; or Blaine Hess, Superintendent, Jackson County Schools, e-mail: bhess@access.K12.wv.us.