Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What was approved October 9, 2018?
A: The WSFC school board unanimously voted to approve architectural plans for the proposed RJR multi-sports stadium. The plans were commissioned and paid for by Home Field Advantage, a private fundraising group associated with RJR athletics.
School Board members emphasized at the time of the vote that no public funding was approved for the plan, but two board members expressed a clear intention to put school funds toward the project in the future to demonstrate, in the words of board chair Dana Caudill Jones, that the district has “skin in the game.”
Q: How much would the stadium cost?
A: Actual cost would be determined in the bidding process, but WSFCS staff have estimated the approved plan to cost $6.2 million. Home Field Advantage leaders estimate $5 million, but they hope to get it down closer to $4 million.
Q: Where would the money come from to build the stadium?
A: Home Field Advantage reports they have already raised between $1.1 and $1.2 million from individual donors over the past six years, leaving a funding shortfall of $3 million to $5 million.
The group hopes to raise more money by selling naming rights for the stadium to an individual or business for $1.5 million. An additional $1.6 million is available in naming rights for smaller components of the stadium: the field, press, box, concession stand, scoreboard, locker room, training room, and each of two goal posts.
Though the naming rights opportunities have been available for several years, no takers have been made public. It is unclear whether the school board would apply an ethical standard to prospective commercial sponsors.
If fundraising goals are not met, Home Field Advantage plans to ask WSFCS to cover the shortfall. This would place financial pressure on the School Board to be lenient in its policies regarding the sales of naming rights to commercial sponsors and any ethical or financial standards applied to those sponsors.
Q: Doesn’t RJR already have a stadium?
Yes. Six miles from campus on Clemmonsville Road, Deaton-Thompson is shared with Parkland High school. It was dedicated on Sept. 9, 1994 in honor of former RJR principal Bob Deaton and former Parkland football coach Homer Thompson. It is the largest high school stadium in the county, seating 6,000. The proposed stadium would only seat 2,300 due to a city ordinance that limits seats in proportion to available parking spaces. but there are phase II plans to expand it to 4,500 if more parking can be created.
Q: The stadiums at Glenn & Mt. Tabor are each getting $3 million upgrades from the 2016 bond. Why isn’t RJR receiving equal funding toward a new stadium?
A: Because Reynolds’ current stadium, Deaton-Thompson, is in better shape than those stadiums. Reynolds did receive $2.5 million to upgrade parking and pedestrian safety on Northwest Boulevard at Bryson gym, which benefits RJR basketball, volleyball, and wrestling.
Q: Where is the parking for the proposed stadium?
A: Spaces are available on Northwest Boulevard. Additional spaces are available across the street in the Wiley lot. The rest of the parking is on the main campus of Reynolds, where average distance is almost a quarter mile (about 1,100 feet) through a tunnel and up a hill. There is a change in elevation of between 50 and 70 feet. Parking at Deaton-Thompson stadium (and most typical schools’ stadiums) is about 500 feet or less from the field.
Q: Is there an on-campus alternative to the Wiley site?
Yes. A WSFCS site study from 2012 refers to it as Option D, on the hillside adjacent to the lower parking lot beside Reynolds Auditorium. It roughly matches a site originally intended for a second classroom building for Reynolds; the two were to be symmetrically positioned on opposite sides of the Auditorium. The Wiley site was chosen in 2012 because it was estimated at the time to have been $1 million less expensive to develop. Rising construction costs in the six years since have made this difference less significant.
Q: What comes next for the stadium?
- Permits. The stadium still needs approvals from the city planning board and departments such as stormwater management.
- Funding. HFA says it needs to raise $4 million in the next two years from public and private sources.
- Demolition. The current Wiley gym will be torn down by the end of 2020. In order to clear the way for the stadium, the future Wiley gym would need to be built closer to Northwest Boulevard and conform to the requirements of the school-board approved stadium plans. Design process for the new Wiley gym will start in early 2019.