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Athletic officials need to rethink flow at field

September 22, 2014
Shepherdstown Chronicle

Jefferson High School held their first home football game of the season Friday evening. The players did a fantastic job defeating Hampshire County 51 to 7. A state record was set for most touchdowns in a single game. The Jefferson High band gave their first public performance of this year's routine which was a show stopper. Their drumline regaled fans with their ability to play. All in all, a fabulous night.

Then there is the new "flow" at the football field. Or should I say lack of "flow." There was a larger than capacity crowd at Cougar Stadium which highlighted, first the need for additional bleachers on the home side of the field. There were not enough seats.

Added to that, making the night nearly unbearable, is the new configuration of handicapped seating (not bad in itself, but bad where it is) and fences blocking passage underneath the bleachers.

There has always been access from one end of the bleachers (band to concession stand) via a grass path in front of the bleachers themselves. There is also a walkway at the bottom of the bleachers just in front of the first row of seats. This year, the school blocked the grassy walkway by extending a seating area for handicapped individuals at a small portion of the bleachers. Previously I believe seating had been at field level.

This blockage of the grass had individuals unable to pass to get from one side of the stands to the other. Students were attempting to jump from the bleachers to the grass and back again as well as try to crawl under the extended seating area.

What made matters impossible was the fencing off of passage under the bleachers. In previous years, that pathway has also been there to alleviate the jam of individuals who either want concessions or who have to use the restrooms.

I am sure that in someone's mind the idea of "safety" prevailed and fences were placed. To that I say, wrong! The lack of safety and potential for accidents is coming at these areas being blocked so that literally hundreds of individuals are trying to jam through a two-foot path.

Open up that walkway, Jefferson High. Relocate the handicapped seating area to the side of the field, perhaps even inside the fence for better viewing. If you don't, accidents will happen. Safety is assured by the multiple Jefferson County deputies who patrol the field. School officials can also keep an eye out. Better a little effort put in that way than having a fan trampled because you don't provide adequate access for passage.

 
 
 

 

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