Reynolds’ stadium saga continues

A rendering of the proposed stadium for Reynolds High School in Hanes Park.

Reynolds’ stadium saga continues
July 07
11:32 2021

After a nearly two-hour-long meeting last week, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Board of Education voted against using $2 million in savings to help with the construction of a stadium for Reynolds High School in Hanes Park. 

The special-called board meeting held on Thursday, July 1, came after a panel of several school board members recommended that the motion move forward for a full board vote. In addition to the recommendation for Reynolds’ stadium, the panel also recommended that an additional $1 million from the district fund balance be used to make improvements to athletic facilities at Parkland High School. Currently Reynolds and Parkland football share Deaton-Thompson Stadium, which is located on Old Salisbury Road, about  a five-mile drive from Reynolds. 

Talks about a stadium near Reynolds’ campus have been going on for more than a decade. And in 2012 athletic boosters and other supporters of the school and athletic programs joined forces to create Home Field Advantage, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit with the mission to raise the funds needed to build an athletic facility near the school. According to representatives with Home Field Advantage, they  have raised about $1 million for the stadium so far. The proposed stadium would cost about $6.5 million.

Before tabling a vote, the board allowed the public to share their thoughts on the matter. Several of the speakers, current student athletes, alumni, teachers, and administrators from Reynolds urged the board to approve funding. 

Henry Hubbard, a rising senior and a member of the lacrosse team, said there have been times where teammates have missed practice because they couldn’t find a ride. He said a stadium in Hanes Park would make it easier for students to get to practice and improve team chemistry. While some sports teams like baseball and football have practice fields on Reynolds’ campus, other sports like lacrosse, soccer, and softball practice at different schools throughout the district.

“There have been multiple occasions where we haven’t had kids at practice just because they didn’t have a ride and it’s been hard to progress as a team and I think having a stadium at Reynolds would really help bring us together as a team,” Hubbard said. 

Reynolds alumna Christi Rybak, who now teaches science at her alma mater, said talks about the stadium were going on before she graduated in 2013 and it’s time to put the conversation to bed. She said, “It’s hard to have a home field advantage when you don’t even have a home field.” 

Al Jabaar, who is president of the local NAACP, also spoke in support of the stadium being built. He said the conversation has been going on too long. 

“I’m really ashamed to stand here in 2021 and we got our kids here at Reynolds and Parkland and Winston-Salem Prep that don’t have the same advantages that other schools have, in terms of stadiums,”Jabbar said. “We find money to do so many other things, but these kids deserve the same things kids at West, kids at Reagan, kids at Tabor, all these other schools that have stadiums on their campus.”

Not everyone spoke in support of the stadium. Several people said now is not the time to be spending money on a stadium. “We’re just coming through this pandemic and the state and the country are still working through a little bit  of a recession. This is not a time to be spending a lot of extra money in my opinion,” said Frankie Petree when she addressed the school board during the meeting. 

Allen Daniel said Deaton-Thompson Stadium is Reynolds’ stadium. He also suggested that the district provide bus transportation for every Reynolds athlete to and from practices and games. 

Daniel also mentioned that Deaton-Thompson Stadium is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2024 and has the capacity to hold every student who attends Reynolds. 

Deaton-Thompson Stadium was built in the 1950s specially for Reynolds and Parkland athletics. 

“Deaton-Thompson stadium is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2024. It has the capacity to hold every student and parent for Reynolds’ athletic events,” Daniel said. “On the other hand, there are elementary schools who don’t have age-appropriate playground equipment for students. I was stunned to learn that every school is built to have a football stadium; playground equipment is not a part of a package when a district builds a new elementary school. It is up to the PTA or private fundraisers to raise money and we all know the difference between fundraising at Clemmons Elementary and Ashley Elementary.”

Other people who spoke against the stadium being built raised concerns about traffic and the lack of parking in the area. 

When it came time to vote, the motion failed 3-5. Board members Leah Crowley, Dana Caudill Jones, and Deanna Kaplan voted in favor of the motion. Board chair Malishai Woodbury, vice chair Elisabeth Motsinger, Alex Bohannon, Marilyn Parker and Andrea Bramer voted against the motion. Board member Lida Calvert-Hayes was not in attendance.

Although the motion failed, Superintendent Tricia McManus said district leaders have begun looking at ways to fund improvements at athletic facilities at Reynolds, Parkland, and Winston-Salem Prep. She said it’s up to district leaders to make sure schools have the facilities they need.

“The three schools that don’t have all of the facilities that a high school experience should have, the elementary schools that don’t have the facilities that an elementary student should have, the middle schools that don’t have it, that is up to us to provide it,” McManus said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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