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Parkway’s football stadium to get artificial turf; BPSB also approves new video scoreboard, press box for Tiger Stadium

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Two Bossier Parish high school football stadiums are getting upgrades.

The grass field at Parkway’s Bobby Marlow Field at Preston Crownover Stadium will be replaced by artificial turf and the scoreboard will either be repaired or replaced.

Benton’s Newman-Mason Field at Tiger Stadium will get a new video scoreboard and press box. Also, the play clocks will be replaced.

In addition, a fieldhouse for girls athletics will be built on Parkway’s South Bossier campus.

All of the improvements were approved by the Bossier Parish School Board at its meeting Thursday night.

The money for the projects will come from the 2012 bond construction issue, which is nearing its expiration date.

The Tiger Stadium press box will be a cooperative endeavor between Bossier Parish Schools and the Benton High School Booster Club.

At an earlier meeting of the Building and Grounds/Panning and Development Committee meeting, two board members put on record their long-standing reservations about artificial turf fields. But all of the items received unanimous approval at both the committee and regular meetings.

The addition of artificial turf at Preston Crownover will mean three of the six parish stadiums will have artificial surfaces. Bossier’s Memorial Stadium was the first to get one in 2018. Last year one was installed at M.D. Ray Field at Airline Stadium.

As was pointed out by District 1 representative Billie Jo Brotherton at the board’s Building and Grounds/Planning and Development Committee meeting, the fields are used for sports other than football.

Soccer has benefited from the addition of artificial surfaces, especially with regard to reducing game postponements and cancellations because of poor field conditions caused by inclement weather.

Brotherton said “the parish should really look hard at getting our other three high schools turf fields” because those schools with the turf fields may have an advantage over those that don’t in attracting families who move in from outside the parish.

“We’re getting behind in Bossier,” she said. “When people move in here, they’re going to look around at our schools and say, ‘Hmm, I want my kid to play on this turf field at this school.’ ” The rest of us don’t have that.”

There was also some discussion about the cost of maintaining the fields and putting aside money for their future replacement.

According to fieldturf.com, the industry standard is to provide an eight-year warranty on all synthetic turf materials. But with proper maintenance and upkeep, they can last from 15-20 years. Another website, turffactorydirect.com, estimates eight to 15 years.

No time frame was given for the completion of the projects. The field at Airline Stadium was installed in about two-and-a-half months last summer and was ready for the 2021 football and soccer seasons.

The cost of the Parkway projects will be about $2.85 million.

The cost of the new scoreboard and press box at Tiger Stadium was estimated at $300,000 each.

Benton Principal Teri Howe spoke about issues with the stadium’s public address system at the Building and Grounds/Planning and Development Committee meeting.

“You can’t hear when you’re on the field,” she said. “When you’re across the field, visitors can’t hear what’s going on from the press box.”

Benton Head Coach Reynolds Moore said the new scoreboard combined with a state-of-the-art public address system could double the amount of advertising revenue the stadium pulls in. He said revenue generated by the current advertising programs is about $12,000 annually.

Since many of Benton’s football games are against local schools, Moore said businesses might be more inclined to buy advertising spots knowing the announcements would be heard clearly on the visiting team’s side of the stadium.

Also permanent advertising spots can be sold on the scoreboard along with video ads. Moore also pointed out that the new scoreboard would enhance the game atmosphere.

The scoreboard would also be available for use at middle school games.

Malfunctions with play clocks have caused disruptions at games. Moore pointed out the clocks went out during the Tigers’ first-round playoff game last season.

He said even when the scoreboard and play clocks were tested to make sure they were operating properly the day before and early on the day of games, they would still sometimes malfunction during games.

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