Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stadium's Future Is Falling Apart Fletcher's Jaycee Bowl May Face Wrecking Ball

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stadium's Future Is Falling Apart Fletcher's Jaycee Bowl May Face Wrecking Ball

Article excerpt

In 1959, former Fletcher football coach Jack Taylor looked upon

the recently completed Jaycee Bowl and said to himself: "This is

truly a first-class high school facility."

In 1996, though, corrosion from sea air and a host of other

factors have more than likely ticketed Fletcher's stadium -- the

oldest in the city -- for a rendezvous with the wrecking ball.

"It is absolutely depressing," said Taylor, who coached the

Senators from 1959-74 and still attends most home games. "It's a

depressing sight for a whole lot of people in the community."

State-mandated inspections of all the city's stadiums in the

summer of 1994 revealed cracks in the Jaycee Bowl's structure --

ruling the stadium unsafe, along with those of six other

schools. Since then, the other six stadiums have been repaired

but Fletcher was forced to rope hoff a section of the east

stands and install scaffolding to keep the Jaycee Bowl open for

the next two years.

A week-and-a-half ago, Fletcher and city officials met for the

first time since the inspection. Although several options were

placed on the table, the only decision made was that it would be

cheaper to build a new stadium than repair the old one.

Depending on who you ask, the cost of building a new facility

would fall somewhere between $700,000 and $1.5 million. But no

matter who you talk to, one answer remains the same -- all

coffers are empty.

According to McGlade Holloway, assistant superintendent for

facilities for the Duval County School Board, a Florida statute

prohibits state funds from being used for athletic facilities

unless they are being used by at least three middle schools and

two high schools. Since there aren't that many schools in the

vicinity, Fletcher will try to find another way.

And therein lies the final rub. The school district, which meets

monthly, can't decide what to do with the stadium after this

season until the parties concerned discuss what they are going

to do about next season.

"Not very much is happening right now," said principal Leila

Mousa, who along with football coach and athletic director Joe

Reynolds say that demolition would be the most logical solution. …

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