Memorial Stadium awaits games

As maintenance workers prepare Memorial Stadium for another football season, Oak Harbor School District officials monday got an idea of what it will take to improve the facility.

Early estimates peg the cost at approximately $200,000.

“It’s kind of a shopping list of things we know that need to be done,” said Gary Goltz, construction manager for Oak Harbor School District.

Memorial Stadium has been falling apart in recent years. The school district had to condemn and demolish the bleachers last year. The field itself is uneven and cannot withstand the typical wear and tear that takes place during a football season.

Because of the stadium’s condition, the varsity football team had to play a home game in Coupeville last year before temporary seating could be brought in.

Allthough the football team qualified to play post-season games for the past two years, they couldn’t play at home because of stadium conditions.

“We need a field that these kids can play on,” said School Board President Vicki Harring.

Recommendations to improve the field include installing a subsurface irrigation and drainage system, restoring grass and improving lighting and pedestrian access.

Goltz said the school district has not identified funding sources or timelines to complete the work.

Another question that the school district would have to answer regards the timing of such project.

Because a grass would need time to grow, some athletic seasons would be affected.

Another thing not included in field renovations is new aluminum bleachers.

Goltz said 1,500-seat bleachers could cost the school district approximately $300,000. He added that if a bond for a new athletic facility is approved by voters in the fall of 2005, the bleachers could be moved to other facilities within the district.

While officials figure out a long-term solution, workers continue getting Memorial Stadium ready for the coming school year.

Bruce Worley, operations director for Oak Harbor School District, said workers have been adding seed to the field, painting and re-roofing the locker rooms and adding fencing.

The district is also paying more than $20,000 to rent bleachers on the home side of the field. That will provide space for 1,000 spectators and a press box for an announcer and scoreboard controller.

Bleachers should be installed at the stadium in early September and will remain on site through November.

Goltz said he isn’t sure whether the improvements would allow post-season play should the football team qualify.

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