By KEVIN WEAKS
Let there be lights, after all.
It appears as if the Fulton City High School football team will be able to play its four home games this season under the lights of Memorial Stadium.
A wiring problem with the historic stadium’s lighting, discovered earlier in the summer, had threatened to darken the stadium for the 2012 season. School principal Donna Garland had even worked out a deal with the South Fulton youth football league to play at least three of those games at South Fulton Athletic Field, former home of crosstown South Fulton High School.
Now, however, it looks like a temporary fix has been found that will keep all Bulldog home games at the Bulldogs’ home.
“As of now, it looks like we’ll be playing our football games at home,” Garland said.
The quick fix came about through a meeting between Fulton Independent Schools director of facilities Wendell Benningfield and Dale Usher of Usher-Alford Electric in Mayfield. Usher then met with Benningfield, superintendent Tamara Smith, Garland and David Moss of Fulton Electric to discuss is short-term solution.
“Work began (Monday), and the timeline is Friday to fix the wiring problem,” Garland said. “This is not a permanent fix. We’re eventually going to have to replace the lighting, but we hope to get up to code.”
Replacing the lights will be one of several things on the to-do list at Memorial Stadium. Reconstructive work is also needed on the concession stand and press box.
Now that the lighting problem seems to have been fixed for now, the concern will be what kind of teams will play under those lights.
Annually the smallest football-playing school in the state, Fulton’s roster numbers have always been a concern. This season, it has become more of a concern than usual in both the high school and middle school programs.
The high school team’s roster is currently hovering around a total of 20. Meanwhile, some early season events for the junior high team have been canceled due to low numbers.
“We don’t usually have good numbers anyway, but right now we have enough to play,” Garland said of the prep team. “We hope to get more out in that first week of school.”
At the junior high level, Fulton has pulled out of jamborees at Lone Oak on Thursday and South Fulton on Aug. 11 and has canceled its game against Heath on Aug. 9.
Garland is hoping, as with the high school team, that more players come out when the school year begins. That would not give the program enough time to properly prepare for the early-season contests, however.
The Fulton prep squad opens at home Aug. 17 against Scotts Hill and will play Jackson Prep (Aug. 31), South Fulton (Sept. 7) and Mayfield (Sept. 28) at home as well.
Published in The Messenger 8.1.12