The last major renovation for Sulphur High School’s Matt Walker Stadium was in the 1940s. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, November 04, 2013 9:53 AM
The Sulphur High stadium bond proposal will reappear on the upcoming ballot Saturday, Nov. 16 — a proposition that failed in May by two votes with a 6 percent voter turnout.
Calcasieu Parish School Board member Joe Andrepont said it’s critical the stadium be renovated.
“The issue we heard a lot from the voters was that they didn’t know enough about it or forgot about it,” he said. “We feel like we discussed it way too early.”
He said the community has voiced they would like another chance to vote on the stadium.
The last major renovation was in the 1940s. CPSB’s risk management department and an outside firm inspected the stadium and deemed it structurally sound.
“However, if we continue down the path we’re going that may not be the case,” Andrepont said. “This is not an effort to scare people, but it is a concern.”
Andrepont said it’s one of a few stadiums that still has wooden aisles, which are “warping,” he said. Rust is evident and the sound system is horrible, Andrepont pointed out. He said the press box “literally sways when the wind blows.”
“There is a difference between a need and want,” he said. “And we have a need for a new stadium at Sulphur High School.”
Sulphur has a strong fan support base with many fans who are senior citizens.“That is unique, and they have asked for handrails,” he said. “And the aisles are not wide enough.”
With the new stadium, seating capacity will remain the same at 8,300. The new stadium will cost $8 million and includes demolition of the current stadium on the home and visitor’s sides, a new press box, new ticket booths and a generator system. The bond would also pay for the renovation of the visitor’s locker room, concessions and rest rooms.
“They are in deplorable conditions,” he said. “We’re way past time of upgrading our facility.”
A person who lives in a $150,000 home will pay $14.25 in new taxes for one year.
“Sulphur has a high level of expectations — not only in our sports but our facility,” said school board member Billy Breaux. “This is one thing that needs to be addressed. Before long it will become a safety hazard. With the economy the way it is, we’ll be able to get more for our dollar than 5-10 years from now.”
Early voting started Saturday and will continue until Saturday, Nov. 9.