B.T. Harvey Stadium to be Fully Revamped by the End of Spring
By Zachary Greene, Staff Writer
Photo Credit — Zachary Greene
B.T. Harvey Stadium is currently undergoing renovation to the track and football field, which will allow athletes to perform in better athletic facilities than before.
“The track had been peeling … it was in really bad condition. We hadn’t held a home track meet in six years,” said Curtis Campbell, Morehouse’s athletic director. “We had a grass football field that they recently did some work on–to even it out. But grass is much harder to maintain.”
One of the changes being made is switching the grass into artificial turf. Campbell believes that doing so will ensure that inclement weather and over-usage will not affect the playing surface. Unfortunately, progress toward completing the project has been delayed due to this erratic weather. The contractors have to wait for the field to dry when it rains, and rainy weather can last for days in Atlanta.
“It was supposed to be ready for our first home [football] game, which was September 18,” Campbell said. “Then, it was supposed to be ready by our second home game, which was October 2.”
A new field has been of the utmost priority for the football team. Due to the past poor conditions of the field, the team had to practice and play their home games at Lakewood Stadium — a 20-minute commute from campus.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle, but it’s just some more adversity,” said Durell Willis, a sophomore fullback.
Despite this, players showed remarkable resilience last season. They finished with a 4-6 record; they won four of their last five games after losing their first five. That span included victories over arch-rivals Tuskegee and Clark Atlanta. The Maroon Tigers eventually tied for third in the SIAC with a 4-2 conference record.
They started their days early in the morning and finished late in the evening. The players usually carpooled together to practice because of the lack of usable space. Of course, this wasn’t preferable.
“We already have to wake up at 4 in the morning just to practice early before class,” Willis said. “I spend $40 a week on gas just going to practice. For the most part, we drive ourselves.”
Players aren’t the only ones negatively impacted by this cross-town commute. Fans of the game are equally displeased with having to drive off-campus to support their school.
“I can’t walk out of my dorm and go to the field,” said Keon Hardy, a Morehouse senior. “I have to travel to the games, and sometimes the location might change.”
The administration has been working hard to plan the construction of the new track and football field. Much time went into raising the funds necessary to complete the project.
“We started to work on raising money to re-do the field and track three years ago,” Morehouse President David A. Thomas said. The renovation costs are estimated at $1.8 million.
The modernization of B.T. Harvey Stadium has been a long-term goal for Thomas. He believes that the new field can be an excellent way for alumni to stay involved with the school and create a greater sense of community for current students.
“I think it will influence current alumni to see that we’re investing in our athletic facilities and that will motivate them to donate,” Thomas said. “I also think that it will connect us to the community in Atlanta because we’ll now have a facility where we can host events.”
“One of the aspects that we’re short on at Morehouse is outdoor green space,” Thomas continued. “I think that it will enhance … the experience of being part of Morehouse’s campus and the opportunities we can give our students.”
Alternatively, some of these students believe the school’s money should be going towards other things that could significantly boost the on-campus experience.
“It’s sad that they chose appearances over actual student needs. There are known issues on campus that could have used this money over the field,” said Christian Shortt, a graduating senior from PG County, Maryland, majoring in Theatre and Performance. “You can’t solely rely on the field to attract students. You have to show that the school is actually invested in what the students do, where they sleep, and what they eat.”