Finishing touches coming to stadium

Published 11:49 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Montez Atchison and Keith Smith with Kass Aviation LLC sand portions of the Air Force T-33 positioned outside Selma’s Memorial Stadium. The sanding is part of the project that will bring the plane back to what it would have looked like during its service at Selma’s Craig Air Force Base. -- Chris Wasson

Work on Selma’s Memorial Stadium has been ongoing since last year. Locker rooms have been reworked, bathrooms have been renovated, the track has been rebuilt and paint has been applied.

Now, work on items surrounding the iconic stadium are also starting to receive some attention.

The plane — a T-33 that resembles those once used at Craig Air Force Base — that sits in front of the stadium is getting a makeover of its own by Kass Aviation LLC, a company made up of men who have been painting planes for more than 15 years.

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“We actually started working as painters out at Craig Field,” Kass owner Keith Smith said. “With this plane we sanded it down and pressure washed it. We have actually done some sheet-metal work and continued sanding. We have now prepped and primed it and then will put color on it.”

It is projects like this one Smith, and employee Montez Atchison, hope to continue as they develop their business. Smith said there are plans to expand their business into a location at Craig Field.

“We hope to get out there soon,” Smith said. “It’s something that can definitely add some jobs. We hope to get started out there and just add to what we can already do. If we can get out there and get established and get contracts, then that adds more work for Selma, which is what we need.”

The plane restoration was not paid for under the bond hearing that funded the Memorial Stadium renovations, but out of the fund of the city parks and recreation department director Elton Reece said.

“We weren’t able to get it in the bond, but we had to get it done,” Reece said. “With the stadium getting its work done, we wanted the outside to get the same treatment. One would have just made the other look that much worse if we didn’t.”

Reece said the stadium itself is about 85 to 90 percent complete.

Work right now is being done on the press box, siding on the outside of the stadium and painting.

Reece said the stadium would have a couple of more tests ahead of next fall’s football schedules.

“We have the Michael Johnson football camp and Selma High School spring game,” Reece said.

Right now work is going smoothly and Reece said he was extremely pleased with Fraiser-Ousley, the company who have been working on the stadium,

“They have gone out of their way to make it easier,” Reece said. “They have just been a joy to work with and the work they have done has been great.”