For nearly two years it was a dirt pit littered with construction crews.
But after a long process the wait is finally over as the public got a first look at the new and improved Tomato Bowl.
“I’m just beyond excited it just instills a sense of pride that is unmatched,” said Chloie Devillier, Cheerleader Co Captain and Junior. “I’m so happy to finally play home game here and, I mean, it’s just breathtaking overall.”
Old elements like the stones were kept to keep it’s historic look, and pictures documenting the history of the tomato bowl are now on display.
“It’s a beautiful new and old tradition here in Jacksonville that will serve the community for years to come,” said Dick Stone, former Jacksonville Mayor.
One unique feature many are excited about is the new turf.
“We’ve got that high-caliber concussion pad under there so I think it’s going to be safe for the kids and it gives it a really cushiony feel and makes an old man feel fast,” said Wayne Coleman, Jacksonville ISD Atheltics Director.
“It’ll make tumbling a lot more fun and a lot safer so that’ll be fun especially for the marching band too,” said Devillier.
Plus after a full season of no home games, the Fight’n Indians are ecstatic to have home field advantage come football season.
“We are a young team this years but I think this is the kind of thing that can help a team out, really give you home field advantage, give your kids a lift when they get to play at home,” said Coleman.
“The stadium I think will hold 8,300 so hopefully we’ll be able to fill it up on opening night,” said Stone.
Even though summer is just about here, some students are already looking forward to next year’s graduation.
“2020 will be the ‘first on the turf’ and that is just the most amazing thing, I’m so happy to be a part of this class,” said Devillier.
The first of a new tradition they hope will last another 80 years.