The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship is serving as a showcase for the Dalton area through the use of facilities such as the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s multi-use fields and the stadium at Northwest Whitfield High School.
And another local facility is receiving raves from the participating teams.
Christian Heritage’s 2012 upgrade of its home field, which included the installation of artificial turf and stadium seating, is just part of the continued growth planned for the Dalton private school. Although the Lions played there last season, their first in Georgia High School Association competition, Saturday’s pool play competition was the first wide-reaching showcase of the facility.
The reviews were stellar.
“This is a fantastic facility,” Colquitt County coach Rush Propst said. “You can tell they are doing some work here.”
Bowling Green coach Kevin Wallace agreed.
“This is really nice,” Wallace said after his team beat Christian Heritage 37-34. “They have a wonderful setup here.”
Christian Heritage School athletic director and head football coach Preston Poag said he had been getting compliments from the teams in town for the two-day event, which concludes today.
“I was sitting out there talking to some of the coaches and telling them about our facilities, and it is a big deal to have some of these teams from all over the nation on our field,” Poag said. “It is a great showcase of what we have here at our school and a showcase of the community as a whole.”
The school is currently putting the finishing touches on the facility, planning to pave the parking lot before the football season begins later this summer. Landscaping and lighting upgrades are also planned to be finished by the Lions’ Aug. 30 season opener against Model.
And that is just part of the school’s overall expansion, which includes a new $14.75 million high school across Martin Luther King Drive from the current campus. It will include a new gymnasium, and Poag said he is excited about the new athletic opportunities the school will be able to present.
“We will be adding cross country in the fall and eventually we will have a track team as well,” Poag said. “It is a big deal to be able to offer opportunities for the students who are here and who might be looking to come here. More things will come as we get our numbers up.”
The school had slightly more than 400 students last school year in kindergarten through 12th grade, and Poag said enrollment numbers are expected to be up again for 2013-14. The growth of the student body and the increased profile for the school’s athletic programs have brought a lot of excitement to Christian Heritage, which also recently named Gerald Porter its new headmaster.
“I am excited about everything that is happening out here from football and the rest of the athletic programs to everything throughout the school,” Poag said. “Enrollment continues to go up, and we have to put everything right when it comes to attracting more parents to want to bring their children to our school.”