PHELPS, Ky. (WYMT) - One Eastern Kentucky high school is going on its third year without any athletic fields after their previous fields were used as the location for a new Phelps Elementary School. Now, plans for a multimillion dollar athletic complex are moving forward and school officials hope it restores pride in Phelps.
School officials say the past three years have been a struggle for Phelps athletics.
Baseball coach, Johnny Fields says, "Everything on the road, travel for hours for hours on end, three to four nights a week, students get home late then have to get up for school the next morning."
Traveling for all games and even practices, they say it is hard to find students and parents who can sacrifice the time and money.
Fields says, "Some of our parents don't get to see their kids play and be a part of that, so our athletics are lacking in that aspect, too."
Football coach, Randy Smith says, "I have to drive a bus every evening to take them to a practice field...load them up and take them, then load them up and bring them back."
Earning them the title ultimate road warriors, the Phelps Hornets say the new multimillion dollar athletic complex cannot come soon enough.
Smith says, "I've got juniors that have never played a home game, they are hoping it is ready for them to play on next year so they can play a home game before the graduate and I do too! I'd hate to think we had a group of kids come through the school that never got to play a home game."
Those hopes are becoming more of a reality after the school board approved plans for new athletic fields where the old Phelps School stands.
School officials say the property, particularly the old stone gym built in the 1930s, holds a lot of history and pride in the community and they are thrilled that it will continue to be a part of the Phelps tradition.
Superintendent David Lester says, "We are going to salvage that stone and build a fence along the front of the complex and use some of that stone from the original building to continue that tradition that Phelps has."
"You've got to have something to be proud of...it is new, state of the art, and like what all the other schools have in the county...I mean that brings a lot of pride to our kids and our community," says Principal Mike Hamilton.
School officials say the entire athletic complex is a six million dollar investment. They plan to begin construction this spring and hope to have the fields ready for games next school year.
The new complex will include football, baseball, and softball fields.