VALDOSTA -- Bazemore-Hyder Stadium gets closer to completion every day.

With 12 days until the football season kicks off, it looks like the stadium will get done in time for Valdosta High to play its season opener on Aug. 20 against Shiloh.

"There will be football played here Aug. 20," said Bill Aldrich, Director of Operations for the Valdosta City School System, and the man overseeing the Bazemore-Hyder Stadium renovation project for the school system. "The stadium will be ready."

The Sprinturf playing surface has already started being laid down. At 8 p.m. Saturday night, the Sprinturf crew started laying the field. That crew will be in town for the next 10 days, working 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. graveyard shifts to get the synthetic turf laid.

"They're working in whatever time they need to work," Aldrich said. "We're hoping they'll be out of here by next Monday (Aug. 16). We'll know as it goes along how long (it's going to be)."

The Sprinturf crews are working at night so that they can work in cooler conditions (the field's gravel base gets hot during the day), and so that the heat doesn't affect the turf.

Workers are also busy trying to finish the stadium's main entrance. Saturday, bricklayers continued to lay the bricks to the wall right by the entrance. Aldrich estimated that would be done by Wednesday or Thursday.

Work continues on the press box. Painting and laying sheet rock are about all that's left to do up there. The elevator to the press box is being put in, and they'll finish that up in the next few days.

"We should be finished with that by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest," Aldrich said.

The commemorative bricks, bought by supportive fans, were being laid in the memorial courtyard Saturday.

They still have to finish the landscaping and pave the parking lot behind the home stands. They'll pave the parking lot once the elevator is done.

The stadium's open house, which had been scheduled for Aug. 12, has been moved back tenatively to Aug. 19.

The stadium renovations are being done by Pinnacle Prime Contractors of Valdosta.

Aldrich, wearing his yellow hard hat with black Wildcat paws and "Mr. Bill" painted on it, remained confident the stadium will be finished in plenty of time for the Wildcats to use it.

"We're in good shape," he said. "We'll have it ready to play."

"Bill Aldrich says it's going to be done in time," Valdosta football coach Rick Darlington said earlier this week. "And Bill Aldrich is the type of guy that when he tells you it's going to get done, it's going to get done."

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