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High school seeks athletics upgrade

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Student-athletes, parents and athletics leaders at Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond argue upgrades to their athletic facilities are long overdue and hope a renewed push for upgrades brings some relief.

“I think we deserve to have good fields and a good track," senior Nicholas Hargrove said. "We should have what the other schools have, to be equal and to have the same opportunities."

Hargrove said he’d love to have his school host track meets, but right now Thomas Jefferson High School's gravel track does not meet regulations.

School athletic leaders have pushed to redo their football and soccer fields in AstroTurf and build an outdoor field house with bathrooms and concession stands.

Their proposed plan, still in the conceptual stage, also includes stadium lights. The field currently has no lights.

Student activities director Justin White said the upgrades will boost school morale. He confirmed the last time a proposal of this magnitude was considered was about 24 years ago.

White said some neighbors have reservations about the proposal.

Off camera, neighbors told CBS 6 News they are worried about parking and would like to see the city issue permits for their neighborhood streets.

Others called the potential transformation a win-win.

“I think it’s really great to give the kids what they need. They will have pride in their school and some may want to join athletics and do sports,” neighbor Karen Williams said.

A school spokesperson told CBS 6 News it has been well beyond a decade since the city last made any kind of improvements to the field.

An information meeting about the proposed upgrades will be held this Wednesday August 28 at Thomas Jefferson High School. It is open to the public and neighbors are encouraged to attend.

After the meeting, supporters plan to take their ideas to the Richmond School Board and City Council.