FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A referendum coming to vote in the coming weeks would put an outdated Florence Memorial Stadium out of commission and sanction the construction of new athletic complexes for three Florence One District Schools.
The 2019 Florence District One referendum would allocate close to $15 million dollars of an $198 million dollar pie to the construction of new complexes for Wilson, West and South Florence High Schools. Originally built in 1949, the current home of all three schools would be laid to rest at the end of the 2020 football season.
“I don’t see many people opposing the need for the new facilities,” began school board Chairman Barry Townsend. “The big concern is the tax increase.” Townsend added the stadium was in bad shape when he graduated high school.
Currently the facility has no visiting or officials locker room. Visiting teams are forced to change in a wooded area behind the away bleachers while the district purchases hotel rooms for the officials to change in.
“A visit to Memorial Stadium by the opposing team is no treat,” said Townsend.
Other believe the stadium as it currently stands has major security and safety concerns.
“My daughter is a sophomore at Wilson High School and she’s a quadriplegic,” began Stephanie Rawlinson, co-chair of Students First. “Unfortunately she had to sit away from everyone else and she couldn’t even see over the fence.”
In addition to the creation of the new athletic complexes, the referendum would establish funds to build three new schools in the district. Only 7 percent of the funds created would be allocated for athletic programs.
On the property of the Florence Regional Airport, Memorial Stadium was denied requests by the FAA to add additional lighting to the parking lot.
“When you come out into the parking lot and it’s absolutely pitch black,” began Townsend. “You can’t see where you’re going you can’t see the kids behind you when you’re backing out.”
To read the full referendum, click below.