Ready for football: Tara Stadium undergoes renovations this summer

By Anthony Rhoads

When Tara Stadium opened in 1968 it was a state-of-the-art high school athletic facility.

The stadium was more like a college stadium with a capacity of about 11,000 and came with a price tag of about $450,000. It was the site of many memorable games including the 1987 Class AAAA state championship game when Morrow defeated Effingham County 21-0.

But over the years, the field began to wear down. Hundreds of football games and other athletic events began to take a toll on the playing field.

The soil eventually became compacted and it lost its ability to drain. Last year, that was evident as the field was in a mess for much of the football season because of incessant rain.

"Last year we had more rain than I can remember," Clayton County athletic director Bob Brannon said.

Over the summer, Tara Stadium has been getting a much-needed facelift to its playing field.

According to Brannon, six-to-eight inches of sod and soil was dug up. A new sub-surface was installed with new soil and the field was re-crowned.

A new sprinkler system also has been installed. The stadium's field has never been renovated and the old sprinkler system was the original one that was installed in 1968.

"It's going to be as impressive as it has ever been," Brannon said.

The first game of the 2003 season at Tara will be Riverdale against North Clayton.