Dale Harris smiled when he remarked, “at the first game this season, it’s going to jump out at you.”
The “it” Harris is referring to is a spruced-up, cleaned-up Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium that will sport a fresh, clean look for the start of the upcoming high school football season.
Thanks to a push from community members Harris and Kerry Nelson, both of whom are parents of Halifax County High School student-athletes, a large group of Halifax County High School football coaches, cheerleader sponsors, school personnel, football players, cheerleaders and assorted other volunteers, began work last Tuesday to give Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium a much-needed spruce-up and clean-up.
More work will be conducted over the course of several of what Halifax County High School Athletic Director Allen Lawter calls “stadium work days,” with a target of the work being completed by Aug. 23 when the Comets host the annual Virginia High School League Benefit game against Buckingham County High School.
The next “stadium workdays” are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday this week from 9 a.m. until noon both days.
Lawter said the group welcomes help from anyone in the community that wishes to volunteer to help.
“Everybody is welcome,” Lawter said.
“We will come back several times to try to get as much done as we can before the (football) season starts. Anybody that wants to help and wants to find out what the next day is that we are going to work can call the main office at the high school. We will let my secretary know what the dates are as they are set and she can pass that information along.”
Donations for the project will also be appreciated.
“We’re doing this for the community, for the coaches and teachers, and for the players,” Harris said during a break at the first workday.
“They deserve better. These kids that will be graduating over the course of the next two or three years won’t be here to see a new stadium, if we get one built. This is for them.”
The idea of freshening up and sprucing up Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium came from Harris and Nelson.
“Kerry Nelson, myself and a few others talked to Allen, Coach Throckmorton (Comets head varsity football coach Grayson Throckmorton) and principal Michael Lewis,” Harris explained.
“We met here a couple of times, and we talked about how it’s a shame we have to wait for the proposed new stadium to be built and so forth. We felt the coaches, players and administrators and everybody in the community deserved something better than we have right now.
“It might take two years, three years, or 10 years to build a stadium,” added Harris.
“The administrators and all of us still have high hopes for a new stadium, but we wanted to do something now. We took it upon ourselves to get the community involved. There is quite a bit of involvement going on this morning.”
Lawter did not have any cost estimates for the freshening of Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.
“Kerry got a bunch of donations for us,” Lawter explained.
“Our maintenance department is helping out with some of it as far as supplies. It’s a collaboration to try to get some things done.”
“The biggest thing is the labor,” Harris added.
“The cheerleaders, football players, coaches, teachers and some other athletes that are mixed in are doing are providing the labor.”
Harris pointed out the freshening of the stadium isn’t solely about painting.
“It’s not going to be just paint, it will include cleaning the press box, concession stand and bathrooms,” he noted.
When it comes to the press box, Lawter said there is not a whole lot that can be done.
“There is not a whole lot we can do with that space other than clean it up and paint it and make it look a little better and nicer,” he explained.