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E'town Panthers play at new home

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Editorial: Aug. 23, 2013

ISSUE: EHS athletic complex
OUR VIEW: The dream debuts tonight

The Elizabethtown High School Panthers finally are playing a home game on their campus tonight.

Although EHS relocated four decades ago, the Panthers continued to play football at the field adjacent to T.K. Stone Middle School. Tonight marks the start of a new era for EHS.

The first opponent for the Panthers at the new home is Fort Knox High School with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. If you can’t make it for the inaugural kickoff,your next opportunity is Aug. 30 when Edmonson County High School rolls into town to take on the Panthers.

The EHS athletic complex is state of the art, with an artificial turf field designed to accommodate football and soccer as well as a synthetic running surface for hosting track meets. The new facility boasts seating for 1,200, a new fieldhouse, new locker rooms, a new weight room, new concessions and new restrooms for the fans. There is a new pressbox equipped with the latest communications technology and a lighting system that would rival any high school complex in Kentucky.

The technological centerpiece is a Daktronics Jumbo Tron scoreboard. The video screen, purchased through private money from key local businesses, is the icing on the cake for this complex.

Elizabethtown Independent Schools should be especially proud of this new jewel and so too should be employees at Jenkins-Essex which served as the general contractor on the project. School officials say the team at Jenkins-Essex worked tirelessly to get the Panthers’ new home ready for tonight. They are to commended for a job well done and for exceeding community expectations.

With this new facility and the investment of close to $3.9 million, it would be crazy to think that there are not increased expectations. EHS Principal Steve Smallwood says that all of our athletic and academic programs are being challenged to find improvement opportunities.

“The football program, soccer program and boys’ and girls’ track programs that will be using this facility have to raise the performance bar and we are confident they will meet our expectations,” Smallwood said.

Elizabethtown Independent Schools has done much to reflect its commitment to the development and improvement of students learning experience. That can be seen not just through the new athletic complex but equally with improvements at Helmwood Heights Elementary and creation of Panther Academy.

Tonight’s game is more than just the grand opening of this facility. It truly is a reflection of what can happen when you have a dream and work hard to make that dream a reality. There can be no stronger message to send to youth than what can happen when you believe in what you are doing, develop a plan, and work hard to “make it happen.”

This athletic complex is the result of a dream of Athletic Director Doug Barnes, Smallwood and former EIS Superintendent Gary French, as well as many others and we say congratulations to everyone involved.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.