'Cats' home gets facelift - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

'Cats' home gets facelift

May 20, 2004

Valdosta-- It wasn't long after Valdosta High's state championship game with Camden County was over, when workers begin to dismantle one of the most historic high school stadiums in the country.

Built in 1922, almost every bit of Cleveland Field was torn down. But five short months later, the work on the seven million dollar renovation project is beginning to take shape.

David Waller said, "You have to realize we have been working on this project 11 years now trying to get something done. It is just a miracle that this thing can work like this and do what we are doing in such a short period of time."

When Valdosta High fans come to Cleveland Field they will find chair back seats covering most of the home stands . They will also find a new press box, home and visitor dressing rooms and a synthetic turf like the one the Atlanta Falcons play on in the Georgia Dome.

The crown jewel of the field will be a Wildcat room which will house a museum that will honor the tradition of the nation's number one high school football program.

Waller said, "We are extremely proud of this. We think this is something that is going to really attract people when you can go back and see what has been happening since 1913."

Not all of the old Cleveland Field has been hauled off to the scrap yard. Future Wildcats will touch this wildcat that was painted over the old Valdosta High locker room to serve as a reminder of the school's gridiron heritage. And for those infamous "ghosts" who are believed to be the Wildcats "12th" man, they are still around also.

Waller said, "That is why we didn't want to move the stadium. That ghost is hanging up there in the air and all along the ghost will come out. We know he is there. The visitors think he is there so you know it is always an intimidating factor."

Construction is scheduled to be finished on August 4th with Valdosta High hoping to scrimmage Camden County on August 5th.

Posted at 5:00pm by roberth@walb.com