GODFREY - The new athletic complex at Alton High School received a ceremonial ribbon cutting Saturday morning.

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The complex was a joint effort between the Alton School District, Liberty Bank, CNB Bank and Trust, The Bank of Edwardsville and several community sponsors. The new complex allows Alton High School athletes to play and practice five different varsity-level sports on campus. This ability is a huge benefit to the school, community, coaches and, especially, the students playing sports.

“It saves us a lot in transportation and scheduling,” Alton Athletic Director Jeff Alderman said. “It's nothing against Gordon Moore Park or anything. They are a public park, and have a lot of people to serve. They have been great to us in the past.”

With the new facility in place, students playing tennis, track and field, baseball, softball and soccer can practice at the high school instead of taking buses to either Gordon Moore Park or West Elementary School. Liberty Bank President Dale Blachford said the convenience will prove beneficial to the community.

“I think it's necessary for the community,” Blachford said. “It raises our image. It will be one of the first thing people will look at when they come to our community. To a lot of parents, a good athletic facility and programs are important when choosing a community to live in. We've lost people because of it in the past.”

The facility idea was conceived eight years ago, Alton Board of Education President Ed Gray said.

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“The coaches started talking about it then,” Gray said. “But, we just didn't have the room for it.”

After some investigating, the district discovered 29 acres adjacent to the high school were available for purchase. Gray said the land was purchased and developed through a mixture of the district's building and maintenance fund, community investors and bonds sold for its construction.

Alton School District Building and Grounds Director Dave McClintock said half the cost of the property purchase was reimbursed through timbering the forested acreage. He said as many as 200 students may use the fields to practice after school on any given day.

The Alton High School football team will still require the use of the football field at West Elementary School, McClintock said. The field, which is shared with Marquette Catholic High School, will be used for football games for the foreseeable future, McClintock said.  


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