The historic Tomato Bowl is getting a new lease on life.
As the last home football game of the season ended at the Jacksonville Independent School District stadium, hundreds of students, administrators and residents rushed the field to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony at the Tomato Bowl football stadium Friday night.
In May, voters approved a $21 million bond package, of which $16 million will give the stadium the most extensive renovation since its construction in the 1930s. The renovations will cost about $16 million to modernize the interior of the stadium. The historic facade will remain unchanged.
The community was filled with excitement as the high school football team made the playoffs and fireworks filled the air as shovels bit into the dirt on the field.
“Wow, what an amazing night with senior night, the groundbreaking and the win to put us in the playoffs,” coach Wayne Coleman said. “All of that coming together made for a special moment in the Tomato Bowl. You can’t write a story any more perfect than that. I am so excited for the kids of Jacksonville to have it renovated and so proud for the town supporting the bond making all this possible.”
Superintendent Dr. Chad Kelly said the district is eager to see construction begin. As a result of renovation, the district’s 2018 graduation will take place at the Oil Palace in New Chapel Hill.