It was announced to students on Sept. 7 and the community on Sept. 8 that several buildings used during football games at Clark Field are no longer useable because of water damage, mold and traces of lead from the paint.
“We’d like to make sure that our community is well taken care of and [can] enjoy the event that the players are going to give them,” said Jill Johnson, activities director for Tech High School.
The announcement was met with mixed emotions and opinions.
“It saddened me because they’re not gonna get the same experience I had when I went to high school there,” said Bobbie Abner-Wilson, 2009 graduate and former football player at Tech High School.
“Although I’ve been here only two years, it was easy to understand Tech’s tradition and history with not only Clark field, but as a Tech Tiger in general,” Johnson said. “Obviously we are very disappointed that we cannot give the seniors their senior season here at Clark Field.”
While the future of Clark Field is currently unclear, Johnson says that she, along with other faculty members, is planning on teaming up with the community to find a solution.
“We really want to make sure that we put a plan into place so that we can open and come back and play our games at Clark Field,” she said. “Maybe even for that 100 anniversary here in 2017.”
“Honestly, I hope they revamp the field up a little bit,” Abner-Wilson said. “If they fixed up the locker rooms a little bit and just fixed up the bleachers, that would be nice.”
For now, however, Tiger football games will be held at SCSU’s Husky Stadium, a decision that, according to Johnson, will turn out to be cost-neutral for the high school.
“For our football games, SCSU is charging us a minimal fee of $1000 per game, which includes a lot of game management personnel and, of course, the facility itself,” she said. “That is really cost neutral for our program here, based on the cost we were putting into hosting our games at Clark Field.”
According to Johnson, Clark Field will continue to be used for football practice as well as JV games, because the damaged buildings typically aren’t used for those events.
For students like Abner-Wilson, the loss of Clark Field takes a heavy toll.
“I like the fact that you can go to Tech and when you watch a football game there, and even after driving by it and seeing the scoreboard, and being like ‘that’s our team, that’s my alma mater, and they won,’” he said. “When you see it on Husky Stadium, it’s just not the same. You’re at home when you’re here. It’s a different feeling.”