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Skilled to Work: High school students tour future home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas

Substantial completion of the stadium is scheduled for January 16, 2020.

Posted: May 16, 2019 11:24 AM
Updated: May 16, 2019 9:32 PM

With less than a year to go before the first pitch is thrown, the stadium that will house the Rocket City Trash Pandas got some young visitors.

On Monday, students with Huntsville City Schools’ Building Science Academy (BSA) got a chance to tour the Madison ball field construction site.

Students with Huntsville City Schools' Building Science Academy were able to tour the future home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas to learn more about how large-scale projects come together. Students with Huntsville City Schools' Building Science Academy were able to tour the future home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas to learn more about how large-scale projects come together.

“It was awesome. It was good to see. Seeing a lot of things I’ve never seen before,” said Khamari Clemons, a junior at Lee High School.

Clemons enrolled in the BSA last year and said he wants to go into landscape construction when he enters the workforce. Monday was his first time visiting an active construction site.

The tour was facilitated by Turner Construction, which is working with the City of Madison and Hoar Construction to complete the $46 million stadium.

One of the students’ guides was site supervisor Mike Price. He has worked with Turner for more than 30 years and said that he got into the business more than 40 years ago.

Price said the BSA students were the first to tour the future home of the Trash Pandas and hopes that the unique opportunity will be a home run with the group of young people.

“For them to be able to see that and maybe that gets a little fluid going with them and they want to be part of construction,” Price said.

Students told WAAY 31 one of the unique parts of the visit was getting to see up close the construction safety practices they’ve discussed in the classroom.

“It’s cool seeing the cable and harnesses up cause we’ve talked about that in the safety part of the construction stuff, but we haven’t seen that yet,” said Conner Gardner, a senior a Huntsville High School.

“We don’t have a way to set up harnesses or anything in the shop at school. So seeing that in practice was really interesting,” added Morgan McCann, a sophomore at Huntsville High School.

Recent rains threw them a curveball and prevented them from being able to go everywhere on site Price originally wanted to go.

However, students said having the chance to see the new stadium long before the players take the field was a great experience.

“You don’t really get to come to a construction site and having this opportunity is really nice,” said Christina Douglas, a junior at Jemison High School.

“They’ll look back on this in days, years to come and be like, ‘Hey, I stood in left field today (while) that was being built and I’m up here in the stands watching the ball game.” Or even watching the ball game or passing on the interstate’,” said instructor Robert Slack.

Slack said they are already working on a return visit in the fall to see the project closer to completion.

Turner Construction said the substantial completion is January 16, 2020. After that, others will come in to install things like furniture and appliances.

The Trash Pandas are scheduled to move in during April and the home opener is set for April 24.

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