Durham, N.C. — The public got its first look Thursday at the newly renovated Durham County Stadium.
Shaw University of Raleigh will use the 50-year-old facility for its football games. With no stadium of its own, the Bears will play for one year in Durham.
“Shaw is just now beginning to move. Watch out, because we’re coming on,” said Shaw President Clarence Newsome.
So far, Shaw University spent $90,000 cleaning up and painting the stadium. Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin said the university and the county are working on a 10-year deal that would bring nearly $5 million worth of upgrades such as new field turf and an eight-lane track to the stadium.
“Y’all mark it on your calendars. This is history in the making,” said Willie Gary, who is on the school’s board of trustees. “There’s a new wind blowing. It’s blowing for both Raleigh and Durham.”
CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry said it was important for everyone involved to think outside of the box because had they not done that, the school might not have gotten the stadium.
Efforts to arrange a plan for a stadium that Shaw, St. Augustine’s College and the city of Raleigh could use did not succeed. However, County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said she does not see this as Raleigh's loss. She sees it as more of a winning situation for the region.
“It really shows we can move freely from one community to another for events,” Reckhow said.
The school's first home game will be Sept. 15 against Morehouse College, starting at 4 p.m.
“It almost wants to bring tears to my eyes, because I’ve dreamed of a day like this,” said Shaw Coach Darrell Asbury.