When the Fort Valley State University Wildcats enter the field Oct. 9 against Central State University, they will enter a renovated stadium.
Dr Anthony Holloman, vice president for college advancement and athletics, said the renovation process began when college leaders made the match day experience for the athletes athletes needed to reach the level of that of the fans, who enjoy an entertainment area and suites.
“Our track and our football pitch were not up to par. The track had to be redone and the football field had drainage issues which made it difficult to play if it was raining, ”Holloman said. “We had a complete makeover.”
The track had a few more issues beyond just resurfacing, and FVSU decided to replace it completely. The finished product is a state-of-the-art eight-lane track with chutes at both ends. The university can now host college athletics meets and major high school events, as well as potentially attract professional meetings.
After the track project was completed, the university turned to the football field. Shaw Sports Turf, which works with professional teams like the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Ravens, installed the new Legion HP Turf. The company has also installed new goal posts and field goal nets.
This newly installed turf was part of the university’s message to continue improving facilities for current and future athletes. Holloman said the addition of the new turf and the new track is a morale boost around the program.
“It will be a great recruiting tool as now our facility is state of the art and stacks up to any D-II institution in the country,” he said. “President [Dr. Paul Jones] was keenly aware of the message we are sending that we are committed to a full experience for our student-athletes.
In addition to boosting morale among student-athletes, Holloman said the improvements could impact the region in terms of increased traffic and tourism for games and fixtures. He expects more events to be held there, which could attract more people to area hotels, restaurants and shops not only in Fort Valley but also in surrounding towns like Perry and Byron.
“It makes a difference on the economy and the dollars that can be reinvested in Fort Valley State University,” Holloman said. “One of the things that we are aware of in Fort Valley and particularly in the sports department is the different ways of driving traffic and revenue in our program. We are in a great place in Central Georgia.