When high school football season kicks into gear, Gulfport players, coaches and fans will discover a very different looking Milner stadium. Right now the stadium is undergoing a nearly $4 million face lift.
Staying in good physical shape is very important to the Gulfport High football team. Unfortunately, the players say over the years, they've had to listen to people complain about the shape of Milner Stadium. They're glad all that is about to change.
Junior Tyree Smith said "People don't have to worry about this being dirty. I don't want to sit here and I don't want to sit there. They're just going to go in and pick a spot and sit down and watch the game."
By August, fans who arrive at Milner Stadium will see many changes to the Admirals' home turf. New bathrooms, concession stands, ticket booth, dressing rooms, and seating are just some of the areas receiving improvements. The athletic director says the project is long overdue.
"Anywhere you go you would like to see a nice bathroom facility. You don't want to go in a hog pen, so I'm looking forward to that concession stand which is going to be real clean. And just overall, the adults and students will enjoy going into a quality facility," Prince Jones said.
The athletic director hopes a better quality facility will draw more spectators to the stands and put more student athletes on the field. He says Gulfport High has 30 fewer football players than expected for a school its size.
"I've seen over the years when you have a good facility, you normally draw more candidates. I really think the success of Gulfport High winning all those state championships was because they always had quality facilities," said Jones. "So quality facilities at that stadium will get more kids to participate in football."
"Being in a better stadium will probably make people think highly of their school," said Tyree Smith. "We like what they're doing to the stadium."
Officials say the renovation project also includes repaving the parking lot and creating handicap seating. Again, it should be finished in August.