Excitement grows as Unaka High stadium renovations near completion

Published 10:20 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

Over the past two years, Unaka football has gone through many changes and revitalizations.

And the facilities the Rangers call home are no exception.

A construction project to renovate stadium seating, bathrooms, walkways and staircases at Lynn Goddard Field started two years ago and is now closing in on completion. With just the finishing touches left to complete, the Rangers will host Jellico to Stoney Creek next Friday, Sept. 14, and according to Rangers head coach O’Brien Bennett, the players are excited for the Unaka faithful to break in the new seating and facilities.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Anytime you get something new, it is exciting to see,” said Bennett. “We (the Ranger football team) have been out here watching the process during practice. We have been watching it go up. These guys have done a great job this summer getting this done for us.

“We are excited to break it in and see it filled with people and feel the energy,” added Bennett. “There have been a lot of stadium upgrades from the county the past two years. I think it has really added to the atmosphere here.”

Ranger fans will now be able to enjoy the game from all new metal seating instead of the old concrete bleachers. The bleachers will also provide handicap accessible seating and ramps. Also, a part of the renovations is a handicap-accessible walkway that leads down from the parking lot to the stadium. The walkway, which was constructed last year, is also utilized as the passageway for the football team leading them from the locker room to the football field. During the Rangers’ first home game of the season last year, Unaka fans lined the passageway, which is being called the “Rangers’ Walk”, and cheered on the Rangers as they made their way onto the gridiron.

The stadium will also feature expanded bathrooms on both the men and women’s sides along with a new staircase leading up to the press box.

According to Bennett, the shiny new facilities reflect what he considers to be the overall high quality of Unaka High School and he feels the overhaul of the stadium will give the community something to be proud of as teams visit Stoney Creek.

“The facilities had kind of gotten old and dilapidated looking with the paint cracking and stuff like that,” said Bennett. “We wanted the facilities to match what is going on up in the building. A lot of times, Friday nights are the gateway the community has to see the school, and when the facilities are not good enough or adequate, then people will think the school is the same way. And that is definitely not the case. If they saw what was going up there in the school building and saw what was going on in the weight room, you would know there are good things going on here.”

Unaka athletic director Aaron Dugger said the Rangers are expecting a big crowd for their home opener and that there should be plenty of energy as Jellico visits Stoney Creek for a region matchup.

“This gives our kids something to be proud of,” said Dugger. “It gives them a sense of home field, and it is great for the community. They get to come see it here soon. And the kids have been watching it go up all summer, and to finally get to see a final project and play in front of it is going to be an exciting time for us.”