CHAPMANVILLE — As far as high school football facilities are concerned, George Barker said Chapmanville Regional High School is being ignored.
A few years ago, a brand new locker room and concession stand building was constructed at the Logan High School football field.
Also a few years back, Man High School’s George A. Queen Memorial Field had a major renovation project as a new locker room building was built at the back of one of the end zones.
Just this summer, new ticket booth buildings and a new concession building was constructed at the Man football field.
But down the road in Logan County at Chapmanville?
Barker, the 11th-year head coach of the Tigers football program, said it’s time for an upgrade at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium.
“It’s everywhere but here,” Barker said, pointing to the recent construction projects across Logan County at other schools.
For starters, Barker said the home side pressbox is inadequate because it’s much too small to fit the needs of the program.
“We can’t get any help in making our pressbox bigger and better,” he said. “We’re just not getting any help. I don’t know what we can do to get help. Our pressbox is not big enough. There’s just not enough room in there. There’s sometimes two radio station crews and internet crews. Speaking of internet, we can’t even get that in the coach’s office. Here it is 2014 and we can’t get internet here. We have to have it. They expect us to be able to go immediately on line after a game and file those reports and we just can’t do it.”
Barker said more bleachers are also needed.
“There’s no seating on the visiting side of the field,” he said. “In order for our facility to be approved for the playoffs we have to put in (temporary) bleachers on the other side and restrooms on the other side. We ask and we get no response.”
Chapmanville did have a home Class AA playoff game in 2008 when the Tigers played host to James Monroe and Tiger Stadium was indeed approved by the WVSSAC but adjustments had to be made.
“We had to bring in portable bleachers for that game and port-a-potties for the other side of the field, along with a concession stand,” Barker said. “We would like to upgrade our facility to match our program. We feel like our program has gone up and our attendance has gone up. We’re just not getting any cooperation. We’ve asked for help but I don’t know what else to do.”
Then there is the possibilty of Field Turf.
The articifial surface is gaining popularity all across the nation and many high schools are switching to it.
In the eight-team Cardinal Conference alone, two schools — Mingo Central and Scott — have Field Turf. The two stadiums are two of the showcases, not only in southern West Virginia, but across the state.
Installation, however, of Field Turf is very costly and can run anywhere from $775,000 to $1 million. But once installed, Field Turf has a life of 10 to 15 years if maintained properly.
Mingo Central High School got its Field Turf through the generocity of the late businessman Buck Harless who poured his own money into getting the MC stadium, which bears his name, built a few years ago when the consolidated school was formed.
A couple of years ago, there was talk of all three of Logan County’s high schools getting Field Turf.
Funding, however, reportedly has fallen short to get all three stadiums turfed.
In sluggish economic times of the 2010s, money is always in short supply. Some may also question if that’s too much money to be spent on athletics.
Barker said, however, he would love to see CRHS have Field Turf some day.
“Field Turf would help out a whole lot,” he said.
But then there’s always Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Chapmanville High School graduate and former Chapmanville native.
Could Tomblin get it done?
Maybe CRHS should call Tomblin and ask him for help.
“I think that’s what they want me to do,” Barker said.
The Tigers are scheduled to open the 2014 football season on Aug. 29 on the road at Sissonville. The following week on Sept. 5, Chapmanville has its home opener at Tiger Stadium against the Herbert Hoover Huskies.