South Charleston football now has a place to call its own.After years of playing games at Lions Field in Dunbar and Oakes Field in South Charleston, the Black Eagles administration has made the call to move all its home games to the field behind the high school, starting with a Sept. 6 date against St. Albans.Crews have been working feverishly at the site in recent weeks with hopes of playing at least some games there this season, but on Tuesday Principal Mike Arbogast finally felt safe in announcing the move of all home games to the field, which got a new layer of grass over the summer.Arbogast met Tuesday with South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens and other city officials before making the call."We're going to make a run with it," Arbogast said. "We've still got some things to finish up, but we're close enough. There will be a couple of glitches, of course, but we want to make it as fan-friendly and accessible as possible."A lot of people in the community helped make it affordable. You can't have something nice without having something put into it.''South Charleston was one of six Kanawha County schools that received new bleachers and lights for their football fields in 2007 as part of an excess levy passed by voters in 2003.George Washington, another of the schools receiving bleachers and lights, moved all its home game to Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills in 2010, leaving its former home, Laidley Field.Other home games for SC this season are Sept. 20 (Nitro), Sept. 27 (Capital), Oct. 4 (Parkersburg) and Oct. 18 (Winfield).
"The kids are really excited about getting to play up there,'' Arbogast said. "We really wanted to do this for the school. Playing games on the campus of the school is the way to go. I hope it gives us a little bit more school pride. We wanted to give them a little bit of a sense of ownership, a true home field.''Arbogast said plans include having two concession stands and two restrooms open for every game, and he expects there will be enough parking with the existing lot beside the high school, plus additional spaces on the nearby tennis courts. A new public address system has already been added.Even though SC High School will leave the city's Oakes Field behind, Arbogast praised the work of the city of South Charleston, Mullen and director of public works Gerald Burgy."They've been great,'' Arbogast said. "They've been up there the last two weeks doing things for us, running sewer lines, running water lines.''Arbogast also thanked donations from Doug Skaff and Steve Doty, for whom the new concession stand will be named, and Tom Orcutt of Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, who purchased the 25-second clocks, which are a must for schools hoping to host playoff games at their fields.Some of the jobs still left to finish include placing stalls in the bathrooms, adding the 25-second play clocks to the field, turning around some lights on the baseball field to add illumination to the football area and the installation of wireless Internet.
Arbogast also has plans to make more additions to the facility in future seasons, including an on-site fieldhouse and an alumni wall where fans can purchase bricks inscribed with their family names."Again, this can be a great thing,'' he said. "I think it's beautiful up there. We've got the best campus in the world and it's great to get the opportunity to play up there.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.