ZION CHAPEL, Ala. (WDHN)—With the 2022 high school football season-opening later this week, going to the games at a rural school in Northern Coffee County should be a whole lot safer.

This season, new, on-campus parking has been built at pre-k through 12th-grade Zion Chapel School in the Jack community. Coffee County school officials hope it’ll keep fans from parking along “busy” State Highway 87, which led to the death of a football fan several years ago.

Several months ago, a multi-million dollar new gymnasium was constructed at
Zion Chapel School. It’s located in the rural Coffee County Jack Community along State Highway 87.

During football season, dozen of fans would park along both sides of that highway. In the middle of the night, it creates dangerous issues for pedestrians. Several years ago, a woman was killed returning from the game to her car and being struck by a vehicle. But this season, new parking has been added around the new gym which will hopefully keep fans from parking along the state highway.

Principal Jared Robison says it’s “to create a safe environment for every activity we put on. So the extra parking only adds to that and creates a safe environment for our staff, our students, and the parents to come out and support our student-athletes, but to do so in a safe manner and we always want to do that.”

Mike Gurspan says “Rebel’s head football coach says anytime you can ensure the safety of your home as well as the visitors you’ve definitely done your job.”

Head Football Coach Cody Keene adds “the support from the community is tremendous so the fact that we’re able to get them in and get them off the highway, so they are no longer parking along highway 87, it’ll create a whole lot safer atmosphere for families.”

“What that does is it creates a safe environment where we’re bringing people away from highway 87 into safe parking providing a safe place for people to enjoy a football game,” according to Robison.

The new parking format will go into effect for zion chapel’s first home game, which will be against Goshen on Friday night, August 26th.