SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) Savannah Chatham County Public School System officials hoped that their new athletic complex would be done in the fall, perhaps in time to play a football game or two there.

That didn’t happen, but the roughly $5 million facility at Savannah High School is nearing completion, with just about everything in place and ready for a grand opening in the spring.

Construction crews have built the facade and bleachers, laid out the turf and constructed locker rooms. It looks like a fully-finished facility.

The only thing that isn’t done yet is the rubberized track that will encircle the football field. Supply chain problems and delays at the ports held up crucial supplies that were needed for construction on the stadium to finish by the fall.

By the time those materials arrived, colder weather had set in; construction crews need consistent temperatures above 50 degrees for the track materials to properly set.

“We have to wait until it’s warm enough to put that surface down and give it the time to cure,” said SCCPSS athletic director John Sanders. “We don’t want to open it up until everything is right and so that’s kind of the plan. As soon as we can get that track surface down, we’ll be ready to go.”

Conversations about building this new facility started several years ago. Stadium funds came from a Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or an ESPLOST, that tacked one penny onto the existing sales tax in Chatham County for projects that fell outside the general fund.

Tim Jordan, the athletic director at Savannah High School, has been waiting for a facility like this for a lot longer than just a few years.

“The money was always here and there, we had a few ESPLOSTs along the way but the money always kind of went somewhere else,” Jordan said. “But it takes money to build something this nice so it was worth waiting for. People have been coming by, they’ve been taking pictures, they’ve been on the Internet, they’ve been on their Facebook pages so I think they’re going to be really proud. To have a facility on your own campus is always really nice.”

Savannah High School will become the second SCCPSS high school to have an athletics complex on its campus. Islands High School broke ground on its own facility in April of 2019 and currently hosts football, soccer and flag football contests in it, among other events.

The new facility is expected to have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years.