Stadium has good dry run

Published 11:49 pm Monday, April 4, 2011

Up and over: Hurdlers from teams throughout Alabama navigate their obstacles Monday during an AISA track meet hosted by Morgan Academy at Memorial Stadium. The meet, which attracted more than two dozen schools, proved to be the first true test for the major renovations at Selma’s Memorial Stadium. -- Tim Reeves

More than 25 schools hit the track at Memorial Stadium Monday, giving the facility its first dose of heavy traffic since sweeping renovations began in 2010.

Nearly every inch of the stadium was covered with shot-putters, discus throwers, hurdlers and sprinters.

The influx of athletes, Selma Park and Recreation Department Director Elton Reece said, would give the city a good look at how their new additions are holding up.

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“It’s a good test,” he said. “There are a lot of folks here and we have the entire east end of the stadium open. This will give us a good look at what we can expect.”

Gate No. 1 is open as well as the men’s and women’s bathrooms, Reece said. The teams were also using dressing rooms No. 1 and 2 as well as their bathroom facilities.

The meet, Reece said, is a great measuring tool for other events.

“We’ll get to see how everything works on a loaded capacity,” he said. “There will be heavy traffic in the restrooms so this will let us know how the toilets and plumbing holds up. We’ll also be able to see if we need to make any changes as far as soap dispensers and things of that nature. We’ll see how we can handle the pressure.”

The Alabama Independent School Association also inspected the stadium in preparation for the state track meet later in April, Reece said.

Everything seems to be in order, he said.

Other renovations on the field also seemed be holding up well, Reece said.

“We resurfaced the track and had the new sound system going too,” he said. “We changed the boards for the hurdles to comply with the new rules. It seems like everything is working well.”

Renovations to the stadium were no easy task. Walls were removed to make the locker rooms larger and new plumbing and toilets were added to some areas.

The process for improving both Memorial Stadium and Bloch Park has been ongoing for two years and included plans for $610,000 of work to Memorial Stadium and $50,000 to Bloch Park.