By Creg Stephenson, The Mississippi Press
The Picayune Item
PSD athletic director Greg Freeman said the current project, which will be paid for entirely out of the school district's existing athletic budget, is a continuation of work that began with new hardwood floors at Pascagoula and Gautier's gymnasiums prior to the 2010-11 season. Many of the other facilities have not been upgraded since they were first built, in some cases 30-plus years ago.
"We're happy to be able to do this, and our coaches are excited about the new facilities," Freeman said. "We hope that will encourage our athletes to continue to work, knowing that we have a serious commitment to excellence."
Included in the project:
— New lighting for Pascagoula's War Memorial Stadium (football/soccer/track), Ingalls Field (baseball) and Davenport Field (softball). The work will include new lamps and wiring on the existing poles for football, while the baseball and softball work will include new concrete poles as well.
— New football field houses for both Pascagoula and Gautier, in the south end zone at Pascagoula and in the north end zone at Gautier. Soccer and track teams will also have dressing facilities in those buildings.
— New dugouts for baseball and softball at both Pascagoula and Gautier. Those are set to be completed for the start of the 2014 season.
— An on-site dressing room for Pascagoula softball. Until now, the Panthers had dressed in either the football visitors' locker room or in the Davenport Field press box. The project will also include new public restrooms.
— A new indoor practice facility for Pascagoula baseball and softball, located beyond the visitors' side bullpens at Ingalls Field. The current indoor facility is inside the baseball field house.
— Dressing rooms and indoor practice facilities for Gautier baseball and softball, which currently do not have those on-site.
Freeman said the lighting project is currently up for bid, with work to be completed during the fall semester. If the re-lighting work at War Memorial Stadium is not ready to begin prior to the season (the Panthers' first home game is Sept. 6 vs. Greene County), it would be completed in late September, when the Panthers have an open date followed by a road game at West Harrison.
The bulk of the re-lighting work at War Memorial Stadium is likely to be done prior to the season or during the week of Sept. 20, which is Pascagoula's open date. Resurrection Catholic School also plays its home games at Pascagoula, meaning either the Eagles' Aug. 24 game vs. West Lincoln or its Sept. 20 game vs. Cathedral would have to be played at Gautier.
Much of the work is scheduled to be completed by December in time for spring sports.
However, there are wetlands issues to resolve at Gautier, Freeman said, meaning the baseball and softball dressing room and indoor practice facility work is likely to begin about six months behind the work at Pascagoula.