In a late Tuesday afternoon meeting, the Harrison County Board of Education decided to place the decision for recommending a name for the Robert C. Byrd H.S. football stadium in the hands of the school’s principal.
After hearing from four members of the community who were in favor of naming the field after Dougie Layfield, the BOE voted to take the decision to name the field off the table. They passed a new motion to recommend the name of the field remain as is and that the school’s principal can make the recommendation of naming the facility to the Harrison County Board of Education. This motion unanimously passed, giving current RCB principal Steven G. Gibson the ability to suggest a name if he so chooses.
“Dougie is someone that everyone loves and admires,” said MaryAnn Carvelli, mother of three RCB graduates and an active boosters member. “Dougie doesn’t come to RCB to see what people can do for him. Dougie comes to see what he can do for RCB.”
The Board also heard from city council members Ryan Kennedy and Chad Sigmon, as well as former Board of Education member Michael Queen.
Chad Sigmon, who spoke at the meeting to represent the voice of citizens who were unable to attend, shared numerous comments from members of the community who were in favor of naming the field after Mr. Layfield, as well as an excerpt from a recent editorial written by Mr. Queen on the issue.
Board member Kristin Messenger shared with the board that Principal Gibson’s thoughts are to involve the students in gathering input from the community, as well as ensuring the project is paid for before making a decision on naming facility.
Numerous members of the board voiced the concern of setting a precedent of overreaching and taking control away from the schools. They were also concerned about naming the facility before the entire project has been completed and fully paid for.
“I think it [the stadium’s name] should come from the community and the principal, following the proper protocol,” said Messenger.
“I would like for two things: One, I would like this stadium to be paid for before tagging it with a name and two, that the school brings us the name,” said board member Gary Hamrick. “We are not saying this ends. We are just giving the control back to the school.”