Atoka Public Schools break ground on $8.25 million sports facility

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ATOKA, Okla. (KXII) -- Atoka Public Schools is breaking ground on its $8.25 million sports facility.

The land across from the schools used to be empty, but now it's filled with bulldozers and piles of dirt, preparing for the new sports complex.

The budget for the new stadium was approved back in July, paid for through a penny sales tax.

"It's really starting to come together," Superintendent Jay McAdams said.

The former Atoka High School stadium was 76 years old and a few miles away from campus.

"It was the same football field that a lot of people my age played on, maybe their parents, grandparents and maybe great grandparents," Steve Turrentine said, who has kids in school and went to Atoka High School.

When the $8.25 million budget was voted on in July, some Atoka residents felt the price tag was too high.

But Steve Turrentine played football for Atoka and now has kids in school. He said seeing the plans come to life makes every dollar worth it.

"There are still obviously people for and against but once you actually start seeing progress, like you see behind me, it gets a little bit more exciting," Turrentine said.

The preliminary plans show the new stadium as well as the track and field. It will seat 1,400 on the home side and 800 visitors. There will be restrooms and concessions for both home and visitors, a field house and commons area.

"Having something brand new for the kids and a whole new generation, it's really exciting," Turrentine said.

"They are currently putting the curbs down for the track and putting the membranes down on the field to allow the gravel and the drainage to occur on the turf field," McAdams said.

Superintendent McAdams said he'll have the final drawings in the next few weeks. The construction schedule shows the goal post, turf installation and track surfacing to all be complete by May.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure that this is going to be played on this upcoming football season," McAdams said.

The stadium is set to be complete by the first football game in the fall and McAdams said the rest of the project will be finished shortly after.