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Clarkdale softball field almost ready for season play

Feb. 17—The Clarkdale softball field is nearing completion with players gearing up to play a home game on the school's campus in less than two weeks for the first time since spring 2022.

Jeremy Smith, Lauderdale County School District's new director of operations, told school board members Thursday that he had visited the campus earlier in the day, as well as had spoken with both the contractor, D&E Construction Inc., and architect, Arjen Lagendijk, to get updates.

"Talking to D&E today, two hours ago, they said everything is on schedule ready to go. Talking to Arjen, everything is on schedule ready to go," Smith assured board members.

Two separate tornadoes swept through the Clarkdale area in spring 2022 within weeks of each other, heavily damaging the softball field and several buildings on campus. Because of the significant damage and lengthy time to reach an insurance settlement, Clarkdale is the last of the county's four high school campuses to receive major improvements and upgrades to its softball facilities.

"All of the metal has been put on all of the buildings," Smith said. "There is no metal work to be done other than setting the stairs. They're waiting on the contractor to come back and do that. They were putting sod on the infield, and they were probably done with that after I left."

The dugouts are basically complete except for a little ceiling work in one of them. The top edge to the softball fence is now complete. He said the scoreboard is up, wired and operating.

"Everything is working on the scoreboard," he said. "It did get a little bent up during the storm, but they're going to raise money and buy a new one next season, so this one's just kind of in there on a temporary basis."

Some concrete work still needs to be done, but the school has secured bleachers for the season, he said.

The outside perimeter fence will not be completed this season, he said.

"The outside fence on the road and the fence going down Mrs. Rush' property line will have to wait, otherwise you are going to do it twice," Smith said.

Clarkdale originally hoped to play its first home game on the field against Quitman on Feb. 23, but will now play its first home game on Feb. 27.

Smith said work is also progressing on Clarkdale's Building 300, another campus structure that received extensive damage from the tornadoes.

"The 300 building at Clarkdale, everything's good to go. We had a progress meeting last Wednesday," Smith said. "Everything for the entire project completion has been ordered and is now in the staging area and is ready to complete. Next week, toward the end of the week, they should start removing a third of the roof, then the other third, and then the other third. The only thing that could possibly hold them up is rain."

He said work on the roof of Building 200 is already underway.

Contact Glenda Sanders at gsanders@themeridianstar.com.