ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) - Four months ago, water poured into the Andalusia High School auditorium and created a soggy mess with the carpet. And Andalusia Stadium has really become a shadow of its former glory. In fact, back in the day, it started out as a semi-pro baseball stadium where we're told the great Willie Mays played once.
"Since it was built in 1950, it's been gerrymandered into a football field now," explained Mayor Earl Johnson, "and it's past its useful age."
The plan is to rebuild the stadium with new seats, a new press box, new dressing rooms. No longer will the field be surrounded by the track, which is long outdated and doesn't meet high school track codes.
"This is a pristine, vintage stadium and it does not match up with everything else we have," said Andalusia City School Superintendent Ted Watson.
The auditorium will be gutted, expanded, and refurbished, as well.
"It was built and opened in the fall of 1963," Johnson said.
In all, it will take $8 million. The city already has 25 percent, or $2 million, in hand to get started. City leaders plan to borrow the remaining $6 million with the school district paying the note on the bonds.
The city school board and the city council voted unanimously to move forward with the plan. While there appears to have been no real opposition to all this, the mayor makes no apologies.
"Well, we could do just fine without football," Johnson said. "We could do fine without choral. We could do fine without drama. But we don't think that's what our community deserves or what our children deserve."
Both of these major projects were actually three years in the making. They begin this summer.
Mayor Johnson anticipates all of the renovation work to be completed within two years, work to rebuild the gridiron and stop the water leaks.
As a side note, the school itself will get new windows on the front of the building. The costs of those new windows will be paid for from part of the one and half-cent education sales tax passed three years ago.