Saturday, May 18, 2024
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Lack of Stadium at SHS Concerns Parents


Concerned parents of Southside High School (SHS) athletes met this afternoon to discuss the lack of a stadium for the school. The SHS football team travels to St. Martinville to play their home games out of Lafayette Parish.

Athletes of other sports at SHS would also benefit from having a home stadium.

Eric David, a parent of a sophomore who plays football for SHS, organized and led the meeting. David said he is sick of traveling away for home games, which spurred a discussion on the same subject last year. Today’s meeting was to look again at the options available to plan and build a stadium for SHS.

David advised LPSB is charged $1,500 per game that SHS plays at St. Martinville. St. Martinville sells its concessions, resulting in SHS Band missing out on $3,500 per game on concession sales.

Southside High School
Photo credit: Larry Cox

Casey McDonald expressed frustration with SHS being a 5A grade school without a stadium. He added SHS has not missed being in a playoff since their sports started.

Some parents said SHS, which opened for the 2017-2018 school year, was built without a stadium nor with a plan for a stadium. Another parent mentioned that a stadium could benefit the whole community, not just SHS. It would bring business to Youngsville’s enterprises, especially to restaurants when games are played in Youngsville.

David said Junior Varsity players play all their games away, which adds transportation costs for LPSB. Junior Varsity cheerleaders go to varsity games with varsity cheerleaders. They cannot cheer for their junior varsity team as they are not provided transportation to those games. He added every year; there is a struggle for LPSB to provide transportation for SHS band members to attend home games that are played in St. Martinville.

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Options brought up by David included:

1) raise the money themselves. Any money raised would need to be given to Lafayette Parish School Board (LPSB) at its discretion. LPSB has a set of rules that would need to be followed, which could potentially take any suggestions or feedback away from the parents and contributors,

2) request the City of Youngsville build a stadium that SHS could use. Matt Romero, City Council Member who attended the meeting, advised that this wouldn’t be possible due to budgets but also because the city couldn’t build on LPSB property.

3) wait for LPSB to build a stadium. David said if they wait for the LPSB to make it, it would be a long wait. LPSB Board Member for District 9, Dr. Don Aguillard, who was also in attendance at the meeting, confirmed it would be a long wait for LPSB to build it due to there being other projects ahead of building a stadium for SHS. According to Aguillard, Lafayette High School is currently a top priority for LPSB.

4) Youngsville could form an Independent School District (ISD). According to David, that would take an extreme amount of time and money.

5) LPSB could create an Ad Valorem Tax to build an SHS stadium. According to David and Aguillard, this was the best and quickest option. Aguillard advised LPSB has never done an Ad Valorem Tax in the past. Having an Ad Valorem Tax would involve drawing a line around LPSB District 9 (where SHS is located). Property owners in District 9 would be taxed, with the tax ending when the amount of building the stadium is reached. An estimate of the additional property tax would depend on the estimated cost of the new facilities and the number of years to finance it. The estimated tax could be between $120 and $180 a year for a $300,000 house.

David told the parents in attendance he got from GEO Services for a quote for building a stadium. The quote is in the vicinity of $3 million. Aguillard said LPSB advises it would be more around $12 million to build a stadium as additional items such as parking, restrooms, concession stand, and seating for 4,000 to 4,500 would be needed that weren’t on the GEO Services quote.

Aguillard told the group the need for a stadium was undeniable.

To learn more and keep up with this project’s progress, join the SOS (Stadium on Southside) Campus Facebook group.

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