Raleigh grants permission for Athens Drive High renovations

Posted January 17, 2012 5:54 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2012 6:23 p.m. EST

— Athens Drive High School students and their parents filled a Raleigh City Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to persuade leaders to allow the school to do renovations that they say are 30 years overdue. The council agreed.

The school was seeking to update its football stadium, built in 1978, including building a new field house, replacing bleachers, repaving the parking lot and renovating bathrooms and concession stands. But the land, located next to Lake Johnson Park, is owned by the city. To make any improvements, the school needed the council's approval.

"We can't have a stadium not accessible to handicapped people. We can't have a stadium where bathrooms have toilets falling off the walls," said Karin Evanoff, president of the Jaguar Club, an athletic boosters group.

After numerous letters, the council approved a proposal on Tuesday allowing the school to make the upgrades.

"The city actually runs the land the stadium sits upon," parent Alan Keith said. "In order for county schools to do any improvements, the city had the amend the master plan that controlled the land."

Student Patrick Mason said the changes are a way to make the school a better place.

"It's something we as a school can be proud to say, 'This is our stadium, our football team,'" Mason said.

Renovations could cost as much as $7 million. Parents suggested it be part of Wake County's next bond issue. To help with the costs, the Jaguar Club is starting a capital campaign to raise money.