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Rome, Ga. - Barron Stadium, host site of the Russell Athletic/NAIA Football National Championship, will trade natural grass for an artificial turf surface in time for the 2010 championship event.
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, voters in Rome and Floyd County approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that included $3.69 million earmarked for renovations at the stadium. The stadium sits on a site in historic downtown Rome that has been home to football for more than 100 years. Barron became home to the NAIA's football national championship event in 2008, when Rome, Floyd County and Shorter College won the bid to host the game.
"Last year's NAIA championship event was an incredible success despite the torrential rains that we had practically all week," said Rome attorney Bob Berry, who co-chairs Rome's NAIA Host Committee. "We have been told by the NAIA that they would love for Rome and Floyd County to be a long-term home for this event, but the rainy weather we had, following on the heels of a muddy 2007 championship, brought some calls for relocating the game to a venue with artificial turf. We asked the NAIA for a one-year extension based on the success of the 2008 game to give us time to see if improvements could be made to Barron Stadium that would help us keep this game for a number of years. We are happy that those improvements have been approved by the voters of Rome and Floyd County."
Shorter College Athletic Director and Host Committee co-chair Bill Peterson added, "We are truly excited about the commitment made to this game by the city, the county and its citizens." The Barron Stadium project was part of a $42.3 million SPLOST package that included seven projects.
"We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with the NAIA," Peterson said. "In fact, we will begin today working with them on a long-term arrangement for our community to host this great event."
The Rome Host Committee is gearing up for the 2009 championship that will be televised live by CBS College Sports Network. The 2009 championship game, sponsored by Russell Athletic, will be played at Barron Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 19. Tickets are $25 and are available for purchase from The Forum by calling 706.291.5281, 800.858.7601, or visiting www.forumevents.org Fans may also purchase tickets at the gate on game day.
Also available are tickets for other championship events, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champions of Character Breakfast, which will be held Thursday, Dec. 17, at 8 a.m. at the Forum, and the NAIA Banquet of Champions, which will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Forum. Tickets for these events are $25 for an individual or $200 for a table (seats 8).
For more information on the 2009 championship game, visit www.naianationalchampionship.com
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