(WBIR) High school football is officially underway and as fans root on their favorite teams they'll likely notice some big changes off the field at several East Tennessee stadiums.
At Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, the school has gotten rid of its concrete seating on both sides of the field. There is now new, aluminum bleachers. It's increased seating capacity from about 2,100 to now about 3,500. Austin-East's Samuel P. Anderson Football Field also got major upgrades this season to its press box, concessions area, restrooms, and locker rooms.
Head football coach Jeff Phillips said, "It's definitely something that's special for us because we love it. We're excited about it and we're honored and we're blessed to have this stadium."
Oak Ridge football fans will also see new bleachers at their home stadium, after the old ones were torn down because of safety concerns.
But fans are not the only ones who will be getting a more comfortable East Tennessee high school football experience. Many of the young players are also experiencing some of the improvements.
Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) now has new turf on its football field. The school's head football, Rusty Bradley, said CAK was able to raise the roughly $500,000 needed for the upgrade.
"It's been an eventful summer. A lot of construction and a lot of digging going on, but the end product was definitely worth it," Bradley said.
Alcoa High School and Pigeon Forge High School also have new turf fields.
Knoxville's West High School saw a major expansion to its athletic program. The Rebel football program has added 4,000 square feet to its field house, which will allow the program to have its own weight room. That's something the whole school will benefit from, according to West High's head football coach.
"It'll open up the other weight room, which we have done some renovations to, and it will house all of the other sports and it gets 100 football players out of that facility so the other coaches can program for their teams as they see fit and when they see fit and not have to worry about overcrowding in there. Our students will also use the renovated weight room for their weightlifting classes during the school day."