St. Aug's celebrates homecoming with new stadium
Posted October 22, 2011 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated October 22, 2011 9:43 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Falcons of St. Augustine's College defeated the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls in their homecoming game Saturday, but they were winning even before they stepped onto the field.
For the first time in its 144-year history, the school's football team played a game on campus, in the brand new George Williams Athletic Complex. Last month, Raleigh City Council approved plans for the 2,500-seat, $10 million stadium.
"It's a big win. It's a big win for the school," said Norma Jackson, who attended Saturday's game.
College president Dianna Boardley Suber has been pushing the city for a stadium since 2004.
"We've been like nomads going from one place to another," she said. "Our kids have never had home field advantage."
At George Williams, the football and track teams will enjoy a state-of-the-art scoreboard, FieldTurf playing surface and a nine-lane, internationally sanctioned rubberized track.
"It serves as a kind of hub for activity because now you don't have to get back in your car to go back to campus," Suber said. "It's just a natural, wonderful collegiate experience."
Suber said she anticipates the investment will impact the college on and off the field. Alumni and administrators said the interest and enthusiasm for homecoming weekend was at an all-time high this year.
"It was just so wonderful to see many more made the decision to come (this year) because it's truly a great event," said '77 alumna Elizabeth Brown.
Alumna Shirley Bost, class of 1957, said she has been a longtime Falcons fan and was glad to see them play at home.
"St. Aug's is a wonderful place to be," she said. "We have lots of spirit."