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'Dawn of a new era': Fairview breaks ground to upgrade facilities

May 15—WESTWOOD — Fairview is getting a facelift.

The school district broke ground Wednesday evening on a project that includes dramatically improved baseball and softball fields.

"It has taken us way too long to get here, but we're here," said Jackie Hawley, Fairview's superintendent, before she and school board members put shovels to dirt.

David Dowdell, Business Development Manager of Performance Services, called it the "dawn of a new era."

"We pledge to deliver the results and exceed expectations," Dowdell said.

Current and former coaches and players joined other community members in celebrating the start of construction near the football field on Wheatley Road, which connects to Blackburn Avenue. Fairview hosted a community cookout at the high school following the ceremony.

The new softball field will be just about where the current baseball field is situated. Part of the previous cross country course will be the grounds of the baseball field. The complex will feature lights on both KHSAA-regulation fields, press boxes, dugouts, bullpens, parking, restrooms and a concession stand, according to preliminary plans.

The project's timeline is still to be determined.

"What's worthwhile is not easy," Hawley said. "What we have coming is awesome because it's worthwhile. I greatly appreciate our community, our board of education and all of Team Fairview for supporting, trusting and believing about the future of our district."

The future complex will be eligible for hosting postseason play.

Cody Sammons, Fairview's varsity baseball coach and a former Eagles player, said his team's current field was built in the 1980s. It has never had lights. There are no bleachers. Right field features a slope below the fence.

Sammons, Chris Williams, Ben Coleman, Brian Adkins and others have logged countless hours on field maintenance.

"The school has backed us up as much as they can, and we've been able to make it work ... but this is a much-needed improvement for about 50 years," Sammons said.

Sammons said his players can't wait to step foot on the new facilities.

"They're ready to play a baseball game under the lights in Westwood," Sammons said. "That's never been done."

Bruce Gibson, whose softball team is 17-11 this season, is on his way to guiding Fairview to its third consecutive winning campaign.

Gibson said the softball Eagles are eagerly anticipating playing under the lights, too.

"Then they've talked about the press box and, oh gosh, we can have our own music," Gibson said. "They go to all these other places — Ashland, Boyd, Lewis County — now they're going to have their own field that's going to be just as nice.

"This is big for our school and for our community," he added. "I'm happy for the kids."

Gibson said coaches and players of the past have made a slew of memories on the current field. It was built in the early 1990s, to his knowledge.

Gibson said folks at Fairview have yearned for a day like Wednesday for decades.

"The wait is over now," he said.

(606) 326-2664 — asnyder@dailyindependent.com