The brand new Austin High School is expected to open it's front doors to students in just a few weeks; but it's what's behind the school that's been in the works for decades.
Austin High School has never had a football stadium they can really call home, but now after over 50 years of waiting, they can finally call their field black bear turf.
Giving Friday night lights a whole new meaning as the only stadium they know has been their arch rivals--the Decatur Red Raiders.
Jeremy Perkins has been the head coach for the black bears football team for 8 years and told WAAY 31 although they have many good memories at Ogle Stadium, the environment wasn't ideal.
"It's been awkward at times....for us we've had to get on a bus and travel for every ball game. Whether we played on the road or at home, we were traveling."
A journey that goes back decades and a new home that will give alumni and black bears to come a sense of fulfillment.
"It's been a long time coming so there's been a lot of people from the past and the history of austin, they've been waiting for this for many many years. It's a source of pride for them to finally have an on campus stadium."
But when it comes to the fierce rivalry with their former cohabitor, Austin High parent Sandra Sandlin told WAAY 31 she doesn't think those matches on the gridiron will lose any of their grit.
"The rivalry will still be very intense. Decatur and austin have had this rivalry going for a long time so it's just gonna be really exciting to have our own field and host our own games."
A pride that goes beyond the football team and into the community as history will be made for the black bears and fans alike come August.
"I think for the community it's gonna be something special and it will be something these kids can carry with them a long time. To be the first ones to play a home game at austin, it's a historical time for them and for this community."
Although their schedule will be just as tough, Perkins tells us there are some perks he's been waiting for a long time...
"I'm looking forward to being able to walk out my back door and be on the game field..."
The black bears first home game on their new field will be against their rival, the Decatur Red Raiders, on August 31st.
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