OHS stadium gets upgrade

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

Plans are now in motion to create a brighter future for sports in the city of Opp.

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar announced plans to install a new lighting system at Channel-Lee Stadium during Opp’s regularly scheduled city council meeting.

“When I took office four years ago we looked at building a new stadium and then we looked at refurbishing our current stadium,” he said. “I believe the estimated cost to refurbish the stadium was close to $3 million. Of course we did not have the money to do it and there were no grants available to do it so we had to not do it.

“It has come to our attention that the lighting in the stadium is antiquated,” he added. “We cannot even change a light bulb. It is too dangerous. The system is old and it is not very efficient.”

Edgar said bids will be opened for the lighting project and will remain open for a period of two weeks, with work scheduled to begin in February.

“We are proposing to relight the stadium with some state-of-the art lighting,” Edgar said. “It is the same system that Troy University and Enterprise use. There are numerous places that have used this lighting system. It is top of the line and it is very expensive, but it is guaranteed for 25 years. If a bulb goes out in the 25th year, then they will come to replace it.”

Edgar said the system will not be installed before next year’s Rattlesnake Rodeo in March, but he wants to have the system in place prior to the start of next year’s football season.

“This is something we need to do for the future of Opp,” he said.

The lighting system will also be installed in the upcoming girls’ softball field, Edgar said, and progress on the field is moving along smoothly.

“In conjunction with that, we are converting the old baseball field on the hill above the stadium into a girls’ softball field,” he said. “We have had a lot of volunteers and donations. We had a work day on Saturday and a lot of people came out to give their time and materials to it. We will need lights there. Our plans are to install these same lights at that location as well. They will need to be able to host tournaments at this field. It is going to be as nice as anything you see anywhere else.”

Edgar said the new field is much needed due to the increased number of participants in youth sports.

“We had 70 girls who went to try out for high school softball. That is great,” he said. “That is the most we have had in quite a while.”

Edgar explained that the stadium lighting project will be jointly funded by the city of Opp and the Opp Utility Board.

Also during the meeting, council members unanimously approved a resolution to begin construction on Phase I of the Opp Bypass Sewer Improvements project.

“We opened bids on Dec. 2 and we had total of 12 bidders,” Don Childre, director of planning for Opp, said. “This is for extension of sewer lines to the intersection of 331 and the bypass — all four corners of that intersection for roughly a half a mile in all directions. We felt like this area is prime for development. Engineers did the plans and we did the bids.”

Brunson Nichols Construction Company, Inc., submitted the winning bid in the amount of $504,496.79, which Edgar said came well below the intended budget from the project.

“This bid came in about $300,000 below the budget,” Edgar said. “This time of the year work is slow and it is a good time to bid projects out. If you get 12 or 13 bidders on a project this size, then you are doing great. We are extremely proud of that.”