East Ridge High School is finally getting a field house to complement the bleachers at Raymond James Stadium.
According to Tucker McClendon, the Dist. 8 member of the Hamilton County School Board, the board will vote next week on the measure to build the field house.
The field house, McClendon said, will be situated between a wooded area on the west end of the property and the stadium itself. The cost of construction is estimated to be almost $800,000.
“This will provide all of our student athletes with a modern facility so they can not only be the best in the classroom, but on the field as well,” McClendon said in a Facebook post.
In August of 2015, the City of East Ridge condemned the half-century-old concrete bleachers at the stadium. The football team played two seasons without the benefit of having permanent home-side stands.
In October of 2016, Hamilton County Schools began construction on aluminum stands for the stadium that would seat about 1,200 fans. The school system refused to build a field house that would replace the locker rooms, coaches offices and other facilities that were housed below the old bleachers.
The East Ridge Alumni and Supporters Association was formed subsequent to the demolition of the old concrete stands. One of its aims was to raise money to rebuild the stadium. That focus shifted to fundraising in an effort to build a field house.
After long negotiations, in 2017 the City of East Ridge took possession of athletic fields around the school. It was the intent of the alumni association to move forward with building a field house adjacent to the newly-renovated tennis courts. That plan never came to fruition.
In early 2019 the City of East Ridge negotiated the return of the athletic fields around the school back to the ownership of Hamilton County Schools.