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JCHS football field getting a $35K makeover

Heavy equipment sits quietly earlier this week at Johnson County High School’s Coach Harold Arnold field inside Paul H. McEwen stadium in Mountain City. Work on the field was halted for a few days due to heavy rains over the weekend but is now back on track of the renovation project’s scheduled completion date next month. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

While the demolition of the old Shouns School on South Shady Street last month drew much attention, the recent renovation of the Johnson County High School football field seems to have received equal consideration.
According to head football coach Don Kerley, who is responsible for the upgrade of the field, which something he wanted to do for quite a while.
“The field needed repairs for years due to drainage problems,” Kerley said. “Every time it rains it hurts the field, so to protect the field and keep our kids free from injuries, the renovation was needed.”
Before Kerley taking the reigns as a head football coach, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), sanctioned JCHS for having a muddy, dangerous football field.
“There were plans in the past to have the repairs done, but it just never came to fruition,” Kerley said adding that he was grateful to the school board for understanding the importance of the repairs and approving the project.
The is project is undoubtedly important to the whole community as the field serves not only the high school football team but also the middle school and the little league football teams.
The two-phase project consists of digging up the field and fixing the drainage system followed by the replacement of the sprinkler heads. Kerley mentioned that he would also like to move the goal post so the Longhorns can have more room on the sidelines.
Jimmy Phipps excavating is handling the doing the fieldwork assisted by Sammy Icenhour, who is said to be working on the main lines of the drainage system.
Phase two of the project will include the laying sod. Kerley wants to see Bermuda grass as he feels, “it is the best choice for the football field. Bermuda sod lasts longer and is more durable, but will not be available for purchase until June 1.”
The estimated cost of the upgrade is reportedly around $35,000, but Kerley isn’t using school funds. The project is making use of money from the sale of banners, gate sales, and other funds from the JCHS Booster Club. Farmers State Bank is also making a generous donation to help complete the project. Kerley is hoping for completion by June 15.
Considering the overall safety of all those that use the field, Kerley emphasized that he was well aware of the upgrade’s necessity and is promising to work diligently to get the job done by the mid-June deadline.
“We will be doing much of the work ourselves to cut cost, so if anyone wants to volunteer or make a monetary donation to the help would be greatly appreciated,” he said.
For more information or to support the project, please contact Don Kerley at 423-444-9724. The banner and brick sales are going on now, which will directly go to
help with the football field project.