Sedalia's historic Jennie Jaynes Stadium to be replaced

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SEDALIA - Cheerleaders and the marching band formed a tunnel onto the field at Jennie Jaynes Stadium. The Smith-Cotton Tigers football team took a few steps and then burst through the end of the tunnel to the sound of hundreds of cheering fans in the stands. 

In what was most likely the final football game at Jennie Jaynes, the Tigers took home a 19-12 win last Friday over Ruskin to advance to their district's semi-final round.

That's where the legend of Jennie Jaynes nears its end. But it began 61 years earlier. 

"We love it, it's been beautiful," Rob Davis, Activities Director at Smith-Cotton High School, said. "It will hold a special place in a lot of people's hearts and minds."

After more than six decades of service, Smith-Cotton sold the stadium to the city of Sedalia and will have a new, state-of-the-art stadium at the high school.

The new stadium cost $7 million and was paid for by the district and contributions from donors.

Even though there won't be any more sports, graduations or community events there, Jennie Jaynes still has a future.

"There is a proposal that the park board will be putting a community center, there's no time frame for that," Wade Norton, Principal at Smith-Cotton High School, said.

Administration and fans are excited for the upgraded facilities, but they have taken this year to reflect on the history of the old stadium.

Sheri Kemp graduated from Smith-Cotton in 1986 and got to walk on the field for the ceremony.

"That was really awesome," Kemp said. "We were really glad to be able to do that. It was a night a lot like this night. It was really beautiful."

Kemp said some of her favorite memories of the stadium included "Relay For Life" two years ago and time spent there in high school with her friends.

"We used to actually come and play football games, you know, friends, on the weekends," Kemp said.

With a son who's a junior and plays for the football team, Kemp will get to enjoy both the old and the new.

"I'm really glad my son will get at least a year playing there," Kemp said.

Davis said this season has been great to see alumni come back and reflect on the stadium's history.

"A lot of old timers come back and tell the old war stories and it's really kind of cool to hear their perspective of Jennie Jaynes," Davis said.

Bad plumbing, poor drainage systems and old stands may make the school and its supporters more excited for the move to the new field, but the last few weeks have been a time for nostalgia and reminiscing. 

"You know it's time for the new stadium but there is a little bit of sadness attached to it because we've spent so many years here," Kemp said.

"We're just really proud that it's been here for us for the last 61 years and we're very happy to move to our new stadium," Norton said.

The football team plays at Carthage Friday night and the stadium will still host soccer and track events through this year. 

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