Editorial: Parkland also deserves a new football stadium

Editorial: Parkland also deserves a new football stadium
February 13
10:38 2019

Parkland High School football has always been synonymous with excellence. The school has produced NFL players, countless high performing college athletes, and even a state championship. Most recently, the 2018 football season ended with an exciting 11-2 record, yielding record attendance and increased community support. The Parkland athletic program has paid its dues to the Winston-Salem community by producing well-rounded and responsible student-athletes that both graduate and move forward to make significant community contributions to Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Parkland supporters over the last few years have often celebrated with other schools as they received new stadiums and facility upgrades. Most recently, football program supporters even joined with Reynolds High School in their quest for a new stadium. They have literally and figuratively stood on the sidelines cheering for other schools, now it’s time for supporters to stand for a common cause; Parkland High School also needs a new football stadium of their own.

In a letter dated January 23, 2019, Representative Donny Lambeth requested a meeting with Beverly Emory, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Superintendent, to discuss re-evaluating the future of an on-campus football stadium for Parkland High School. Lambeth stated that the stadium has “passed its useful life and continues deteriorating”. He goes on the exclaim that the stadium is “below the standards of the other high school stadiums and must be replaced.”

On February 8, 2019, Beverly Emory announced her resignation from her post as superintendent to take on a new role as Director of District and Regional Support for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. It is not yet clear if Emory was able to meet with Lambeth to discuss the proposed stadium at Parkland High School, but it is abundantly clear what should happen next. The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board should consider a new stadium for Parkland just as they are considering the possibility of a new stadium for Reynolds High School.

Parkland currently shares a football stadium with Reynolds, but it appears that the school is once again being overlooked, this time while officials consider a new stadium for Reynolds. In fact, school board members are currently fast tracking a proposal that would accelerate the demolition of the adjacent Wiley Magnet School gymnasium. The demolition of the gym coincidentally aligns with a strategic plan for a new Reynolds football stadium, crafted by the well-funded Reynolds High School Home Field Advantage. Home Field Advantage is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, formed with the mission to build an on-campus athletic facility for R. J. Reynolds High School.

The Chronicle stands with Representative Donny Lambeth in also calling for a re-evaluation of the future of the Parkland High School Football stadium. We agree that the goals should be the same for Parkland as it is for Reynolds. The current stadium is an off-campus site for both schools and the facility is in need of significant improvements. This is exactly why Reynolds wants out of the facility, and why another stadium should similarly be considered for Parkland. The difference is that Reynolds can easily raise capital from their wealthy alumni to abandon the stadium, leaving Parkland to endure what is left behind. Parkland Mustang supporters may or may not be as well funded as those in Reynolds High School Home Field Advantage, but we agree that the students of both schools deserve equal and fair treatment. It is our view that the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools Board should consider similar stadiums for both Reynolds and Parkland. If the two schools will soon play separately, at least we should make sure that their accommodations are equal.

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