Laney High School Athletic Complex nears completion

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Two years ago, plans of a new Laney High School stadium were surrounded by controversy as hundreds lost their homes to the project.

The project is now near completion, and many residents have had a change of heart.

Elizabeth Murray has lived in the Laney Walker area for nearly 30 years. Two years ago, her house was spared from a project that would build Laney High School's new athletic complex.

"It took a lot of people's homes!" she recalls. "And they had been here and had raised their children here, and some had been here fifty years or more."

And two years later there's a massive athletic complex, including a stadium with 9000 seats, soccer, baseball, and softball fields, and even a walking track.

It's something students are looking forward to.

"I see a lot of them go by here now and talk about it," Murray says. "They talk about 'I'm going to be playing ball over there', 'I'm going to do this'."

Many of the homeowners originally against building the stadium now say it's grown on them.

"It was a hurting thing, but you right, now you see it, think about it and you look around and you say look at here, progress is being made," says Murray.

Ervin Johnson says three of his family homes were demolished to make room for the new stadium.

He says a lot of history came down with them.

"Oh Lord yes, because of the heritage and the memories and all, that was the worst thing," he says.

There will be many memories built into this stadium.

Johnson is working on a project to sell alumni bricks to mark history.

"I'm glad the stadium is going to be here now," he says. "Seems like a positive move now since it's got to that point."

A point where Laney High School no longer has to share a stadium, but has one to call its own.

Originally the plans called for an $8.5 million stadium, but city commissioners contributed $2.5 million and the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corporation contributed $1 million to the project. This allowed the stadium to have more seating.