Planning begins to repair tornado-stricken John Thompson Athletic Complex

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Jefferson Davis County Superintendent Dexter Jordan met with the Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors regarding the sports facilities at the John Thompson Complex in Bassfield that were destroyed in the Easter 2020 tornadoes. The complex is home to Jefferson Davis County High School softball and baseball. The teams have had to play out of town since the damage occurred.

The county received just under $300,000 from the insurance company to make repairs to the facility.

“I want to be able to bring something to the school board at the monthly meeting on the 14th of this month,” said Jordan. “I want to do more than I think my board will do, so I want to be able to have suggestions from you all to meet me somewhere in the middle of what your expectations are in regards to what is the long term goal that you are setting to make sure that facility is representative of our district.” Our kids are an investment we can always get back from.”

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“The insurance settlement money will get the facility repaired and usable again,” said JDC County Engineer Les Dungan.  “A comprehensive plan to bring facility up to a much higher standard would be an option, but it is also an option that is going to cost money.”

“This is the most productive time to push forward and try to create a plan that all of us can support,” said Student Support Services Director Jason McLeod. “Our investments now determine our success. If we don’t invest properly, all of the communities around us are going to start getting all the activities that were previously here.”

“What we have now is what the insurance gave us to work with,” said District 1 Supervisor Corky Holliman. “Certainly, we would like to work with the school and build something we could all be proud of and get maximum usage out of and now is the time to do it since we are starting over.”

“We want to get it now where it can be used,” said District 3 Supervisor Demarrio Booth. “We will do the first phase, then if we need to come back with something different, we can have it laid out and planned out like it needs to be. We have $300,000. If the school can match it, that will get the complex up and back going and ready to play where the school won’t be having to travel somewhere else to play.”

“For a $600,000 budget, we can get it back like it was before with improvements to the concessions, restrooms and press box for fields one and two,” said Dungan.

The board will meet again with Jordan after the school board meeting on June 14.

In other business during its regular meeting Monday, the board approved the purchase of a new absentee voting machine for the Jefferson Davis County Circuit Clerk’s office.

During his monthly report, Jefferson Davis Economic Development Director Gary Bass informed the board he is working with Universal Board Room, a communications and marketing company out of Minneapolis. “My office is partnering with them on events, grant writing and branding the county as the Garden Spot of the Earth. I am focused on agriculture and tourism and we have got potential here that we need to be capitalizing on.”

The board also approved the minutes, approved employee action forms, approved employees attending meetings and conventions, approved claims, discussed paving and approved payment of invoices from storm clean-up.