Here’s how RJR can get a home field for 10 teams and save $4 million

Of the 12 Reynolds teams that would use the proposed stadium, all except football could be served just as well by a grass playing field on the Wiley site. Bleacher seating for 500 would comfortably accommodate game crowds for RJR lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey and Wiley soccer. The field would also host practices for the teams as well as ROTC, dancing boots and marching band.

By coordinating the grading with planned demolition of the Wiley gym, Reynolds could have a home field for all sports except football for an estimated $1 million by 2020, saving at least $4 million in construction costs compared with the proposed stadium. The field would be cheaper for the school system to maintain, have less impact on Hanes Park and Wiley, and it would enjoy broad public support. For a school board that wants to upgrade athletic facilities for Reynolds, this is a financially responsible choice that would keep the district free of obligations to private or commercial donors.

This solution does not improve Reynolds’ facilities for football, but that sport already enjoys practice facilities in Hanes Park and plays home games at the largest high school stadium in the county. Deaton-Thompson’s six-mile distance from campus might be an inconvenience for spectators who live closer to the campus than the stadium, but players and performing teams (dancing boots, cheerleaders and marching band) are provided with transportation to games.