View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 9/22

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: September 23, 2014 - 5:31 AM

Next season, for the first time in the 52-year history of Raytown South, the Cardinals will play a home football game at home. Next fall, South will have its own stadium after sharing Ted Chitwood Stadium with Raytown.

Shared stadiums are an old concept that works, but it is still great when teams have their own home. While most shared stadiums are between two or three teams, one district in the Metro has an arrangement where it shares it with a college.

Liberty and Liberty North do not have stadiums at their school, nor is there a district stadium. The schools use William Jewell’s field which is not near either high school. Each week both teams play what is essentially a road game, no matter if they are wearing their home colors or not.

What’s the big deal some might ask? The teams have been doing this forever. These players know no other routine. If this is what the district has to do, then it is what it is.

Except, this arrangement is not working. The facility is fine, but the turf is getting old and warn. It’s not just used by two high school football teams and the college team, it is also used by the men’s and women’s soccer team at the college. That’s a lot of use and we have found out that the turf doesn’t last forever. Many schools across the Metro are on their second turf field, and those fields get about a third of the use of Jewell’s.

Last week Liberty North played its home game on Thursday because Jewell had a home soccer game on Friday. In its league, soccer games are played on Friday nights so Liberty and North will have to play a Thursday game here and there because it’s not their stadium.

I understand that times are tough for school districts. Building facilities are expensive. I also understand that districts are at the mercy of the voters and two bond issues that would have built a district football stadium were voted down.

For a district that has been one of the leaders in the Metro in academics and athletics, the lack of either a district football stadium or home stadiums for each school is something that should have been addressed a long time ago.

It’s easy to look across the Metro and see district after district having state of the art facilities that are showpieces for the district. These stadiums can also be a source of revenue. Many districts rent out their stadiums for youth and other events.

The time is now for Liberty to step up. While the district is a leader in a lot of areas, it is currently at the end of the line when it comes to football facilities.