Controversy erupts around the Clay Center football stadium

CLAY CENTER (KSNT) — Plans for a new multimillion-dollar football stadium at Clay Center are stirring controversy.

High school students and parents expressed concern Monday night over the school board’s December decision to replace a facility that has been around for more than eighty years. Several people have spoken to the district school board this evening, while some agree with the plans for the new stadium, others say a community vote should be held.

“I just think it’s not right for a small group of people to come up with a plan very quickly and try to replace this stadium when it was voted on in 2014, and people remarkably said, ‘we don’t want to replace this stadium,” said Clay Center alumnus Tracy Claeys.

Others however are excited about the changes, Brody Hayes, a dual sport sophomore, says it’s something that will help the community as a whole, while benefiting all the different teams playing it.

“It will not only benefit the football team but many surrounding teams, I think it will help the community a lot as it will allow for multiple purposes,” said Hayes.

One of those goals? A place for the group. The Clay Center Band President said this new area will help their band compete better.

“With those lines, we would be able to do formations properly, and repeatedly too, so they would be down by the time we go to competitions,” Addy Wichman said.

Claeys says he’s not a hater, as a longtime college football coach who enjoys helping students. But he says the district needs to re-examine the money he’s paying – it’s way more than he’s considering.

“There was never even a question of fundraising to see what we could raise to do things at the stadium,” Claeys said. “It was even an option, so like I said, let the community come up with a plan.”

Despite differing opinions, the school told 27 News that the private fundraising party has already raised a third of its nearly $1 million goal and the stadium will be ready for the start of the 2023 season.

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