Smith-Cotton Stadium at Jennie Jaynes Complex, to be located southwest of the high school building, came one step closer to reality Friday after ground was ceremoniously broken for the new sports complex.
The new Jennie Jaynes facility, which will cost between $6.3 million and $7 million, will be paid for with private donations and Fund 4 Capital Projects funds; a new tax levy will not be needed the school board noted. It will include a synthetic turf football field, all-weather track, concessions building, fieldhouse and practice fields.
One dozen students representing various facets of S-C’s athletic department, band, JROTC, cheerleaders and dance squad were each given a gold-colored shovel adorned with black and gold ribbons and asked to turn over the first shovel of dirt for the project. It was District 200 Board Member David Wolfe who suggested that students, not board members, turn the dirt, said Dr. Jeffrey Sharp, who addressed the huge crowd of students, parents, administrators, alumni, local citizens and contributors gathered in the south parking lot of Smith-Cotton in a stiff easterly wind.
“This will be a multipurpose stadium for practice and competitions, both by athletes as well as the band, Junior ROTC and students during their physical education,” Dr. Sharp said.
Zach Volk (boys soccer), Rex Walters (football), Grant Waters (band), Aurora Rafael (JROTC), Jill Vansell (girls soccer), Mariana Ward (girls track), Christian Sarabia (boys track), Martin Zalfa (boys cross country), Steven Bradbury (baseball), Abby Perkins (softball), Nicola Warren (cheer), Monica Vaughn (dance) all lined up in the grass to dig the first shovel of dirt.
District 200 Superintendent Brad Pollitt proclaimed it a historic day for the City of Sedalia and the Sedalia 200 School District. “It’s truly a great day and a proud day to be a Tiger,” Pollitt said.
“In the past five years, we’ve had a number of great things take place in this community. To your right is the high school, and directly behind me will be the new multipurpose complex,” Pollitt noted. He then thanked all the District 200 board members for their foresight and dedication. Dr. Sharp, Scott Gardner, David Wolfe, Stephanie Lefevers, Diana Nichols and Kenny Coffelt all received applause from the crowd.
“Through their leadership, we continue to be accredited with distinction and we continue to look into the future for the community of Sedalia and the Sedalia 200 School District,” Pollitt said.
Also among those in attendance were S-C Activities Director Rob Davis, Dr. Mark Register (Sacred Heart principal), Mayor Elaine Horn, EDSPC Executive Director Linda Christle, Sue Heckart from the Sue Heckart Foundation and the Bingo Booster Club, to name a few.
“It’s an exciting time for Smith-Cotton and for Sedalia, and it’s just like Brad Pollitt said, it’s an exciting day to be a Tiger. It’s really going to be a good thing to have this addition for our community,” commented 1989 S-C graduate David Goodson after the ceremony.
“There’s a lot of people who’ve put a lot of work into this; there’s been some amazing people and it’s just phenomenal how this community came together for this high school and this field,” he concluded.
Mayor Horn told the News Journal that she thinks the new sports complex is a wonderful thing. “It’s been a long time coming and it will be wonderful when our students will have a state-of-the-art facility to work in, within the next school year; it’s a tremendous plus for our community,” she said, adding that the contributors on the project are what makes Sedalia a beautiful place to live. “People step up to the plate to help our students and make it happen with quality facilities so students can do the best job they can and grow as individuals,” Mayor Horn stated.
The school’s JROTC program, which earned a national championship title just last week in Georgia, exhibited the colors, while the S-C Marching Tigers made a grand entrance to kick off the celebration. S-C vocal music students sang the National Anthem.
Mid-City Lumber provided a tailgate-style lunch for the student body on Friday.
As for the old stadium, the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education voted 6-0 on Sept. 9 to approve the sale of Jennie Jaynes Stadium and its affiliated properties to the City of Sedalia and the Sedalia Park Board for $1 million. The property was declared surplus in early August. Dr. Sharp indicated the new complex should be completed in time for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.