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Zemp Stadium supporter addresses school board

Posted: September 18, 2014 5:43 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2014 6:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Scott Jordan stands Thursday afternoon on the field in Zemp Stadium where he played on the Camden High School Bulldog football team. Jordan spoke Tuesday night at the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting, asking them to remove a provision to demolish the stadium from a referendum on Kershaw County School District projects that is on November’s general election ballot.

 

A Camden resident who wants to preserve Zemp Stadium spoke before the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees during its meeting Tuesday night.

Scott Jordan, who graduated from Camden High School in 1981, expressed his shared concerns about the possible demolition of the long-standing structure after the new stadium is built in a nearly 15-minute written statement.

“We respectfully request that the Kershaw County school board vote to amend the Phase 2 facilities referendum instead of replacing the current facility, we ask that the referendum instead require the renovation of Zemp Stadium and maintaining Zemp Stadium as the home field for Camden High School football and other varsity sports, ” said Jordan.

Jordan posed a few questions for the board to consider.

“When you were telling folks at various civic clubs in our community that Zemp was off the table and when you had plans on the table to renovate Zemp as a part of the phase 2 program this spring, did you have communications with the two groups that surround the property and request longer terms for parking or insure to your neighbors your good intent by offering a first right of refusal?” Jordan asked.

He also scolded the board for what he referred to as a “blatant disregard for the community at large.”

“Save Zemp Stadium as the home of the Camden High Bulldogs,” Jordan said in conclusion.

Board Chair Mara Jones said trustees and the district have been transparent about the project list.

“The board has made a great effort to work its way around Kershaw County,” Jones said.

Trustee Louis Clyburn suggested some alternatives for Zemp.

“We can ask to get a team together to look at reuse of Zemp Stadium,” Clyburn said.

Still expressing a desire for a new stadium for football games, Clyburn said a committee should be formed to devise a plan to renovate Zemp and decide what other activities could take place there.

Kershaw County School District Superintendant Dr. Frank Morgan added to Clyburn’s idea by talking a little bit about “adaptive reuse.” The process is something Morgan said he saw a lot of in a previous position.

Other board members also stressed there were past opportunities for the community to speak out and give input on Zemp’s fate.

“We gave the opportunity to decide to keep Zemp Stadium,” Trustee Dr. Donald Copley said.

Trustee Nissary Wood expressed her concern with the constant back and forth on the topic.

“We cannot go back and make amendments, so let’s just move forward.” Wood said. “We are looking at what’s in the best interest of Kershaw County.”

Trustee Derrick Proctor said the final decision about Zemp Stadium will be up to the public.

“Right now, we don’t know what’s going to happen. The public still has the final word,” Proctor said.

In November, the community will have the opportunity to vote in favor of or oppose the project to build a new stadium.

In other business, the board recognized the student body presidents from Camden and Lugoff-Elgin high schools for the amount of money the two schools raised for the United Way of Kershaw County.

The board also received an overview of the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation structure, and an overview of current statewide instructional issues.

The board’s next meeting will take place Oct. 7 at North Central High School.

 

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