UPDATE (9:45 p.m.): WKRG spoke with MCPSS board member Johnny Hatcher Friday afternoon and confirmed Ladd-Peebles Stadium will continue to host college football games, like the Gulf Coast Challenge.
Hatcher also confirmed MCPSS is discussing plans to build a $40 million sportsplex around Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The plan will include baseball and softball fields as well as an indoor facility for basketball and volleyball.
“I think it’s about time,” said Hatcher in reference to the plans of a sportsplex. “I think we’re, you know, hey, look, we’re lagging. We have kicked that can as far as we can kick it. Now it’s either do something or die, you know, evolve or die. We have to start evolving. We have to start doing the things to bring the people to Mobile.”
As for the future of Williamson High School, the plan remains the same and an on-campus field will be built. The plan is for Murphy High School to play at Ladd-Peebles, which WKRG reported late Thursday night.
“Murphy has nowhere to go,” added Hatcher. “They’re landlocked. It would be astronomical figures to buy up all those houses, tear them down and build a stadium. It’s just not going to happen. So they’re going to have to have an off campus facility. So that’s what we decided that Ladd would be the perfect fit.”
UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): Mobile Chamber President & CEO Bradley Bryne released a statement on the proposed transfer.
The proposed transfer of Ladd-Peebles to the Mobile County Public School System marks a significant milestone in ensuring the continued success of this historic sports and entertainment complex. By selling the facility to MCPSS and investing in future renovations, the City of Mobile is making a decisive move towards securing the long-term financial stability and modernization of Ladd-Peebles. This collaboration will foster a win-win situation, providing another great venue for Mobile and accommodating the evolving needs of modern events.”Mobile Chamber President & CEO Bradley Byrne
UPDATE (6/9 10:20 a.m.): The City of Mobile released details in the proposed purchase of Ladd-Peebles Stadium by the Mobile County Public Schools System.
WKRG first broke this story Thursday night.
According to the release sent out Friday morning, Ladd-Peebles Stadium is “in arrears on payments for the stadium’s utilities and is unable to meet its immediate payroll obligations.”
The City of Mobile will be “immediately taking over operations of the Ladd-Peebles Sports and Entertainment Complex.”
Employees of Ladd-Peebles Sports and Entertainment will be converted to City of Mobile employees and the city will be “assuming its operating expenses.”
On June 13, the Mobile City Council will consider three items in reference to this transfer:
- a purchase agreement transferring ownership of the property to MCPSS for $1
- an intergovernmental agreement providing up to $9 million for future maintenance and improvements at Ladd-Peebles
- an emergency contract for field repairs needed to safely host football games this fall
If approved by the City Council and Mobile County Board of School Commissioners, these agreements between the city and MCPSS would “ensure that the athletic facilities and accommodations at Ladd-Peebles can meet the demands and standards of all modern events.”
The city also says MCPSS would allow the community to use the track at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. According to the release, the stadium will still be able to host “popular HBCU football games” including the Port City Classic and Gulf Coast Challenge.
ORIGINAL REPORTING BELOW
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Representatives from the Mobile County Public Schools System and the City of Mobile are in discussions for MCPSS to purchase Ladd-Peebles Stadium for $1, sources close to the situation tell WKRG Sports Director Simone Eli. The two sides met Thursday to discuss the agreement.
A plan is being put into place that will include MCPSS and the City of Mobile to each spend $10 million over the next 10 years on Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The discussions also include a long term plan of building a $40 million sportsplex-like facility for MCPSS schools. No further information on what the sportsplex entails was immediately available.
Discussions are ongoing and WKRG is told this is expected to be on the city agenda as soon as next week.
This comes soon after MCPSS built four on-campus high school football stadiums for LeFlore, Vigor, Davidson and B.C. Rain. Sources tell WKRG that MCPSS will still build an on-campus stadium for Williamson High School. The expectation is for Ladd-Peebles to serve as the home field for Murphy High School. News 5 will continue to follow this story.
This is a developing story.