Stadium rebuild solidified, but uncertainty remains

Grant Rayfield, Online Editor

Five million dollars and a well thought out design may not be enough to get the Liberty sports stadium done soon, as complications have arisen from the high cost of re-turfing the field and building new bleachers.

On March 4, Liberty’s Athletic Department and coaches met to discuss the current plans and schedule for the reconstruction of the stadium, tennis courts, and multipurpose fields. For many people in the Athletic Department, this was the first time they had heard of how the facilities would be renovated.

One issue discussed at the conference earlier this month involved the proposal for building a new tennis complex. Originally, there was no plan for a shed to store equipment for the tennis team, and the tennis courts were originally positioned east to west, rather than the north to south orientation required to make them playable (this is due to the position of the sun in the evening, as one of the players will invariably be blinded if the court faces east to west.

The lack of a storage shed and court orientation plan was remedied, but because the plan for the tennis courts is not technically part of the stadium rebuild, its completion may be delayed for an uncertain period of time by the cracking of some of the concrete surface from the weather.

“Completion dates, as I have learned in construction projects for the last three years, have very soft deadlines. These projects tend to move along pretty quickly and on schedule until the last month or two of the completion phase,” principal Josh Almy said.

The stadium project, however, is running into problems due to funding. The $5 million budget – which is actually $1.7 million less than Skyline’s stadium budget was for their last remodel several years ago – is not enough to cover the costs of re-turfing the main field, which is in great need of replacement due to its age. It recently reached the recommended maximum usage length of 12 years. Several administrators, including Almy and Loren Krogstad, are currently in the process of acquiring more funding for this project from the district.

“I am seeing a soft deadline right now for August 8, but I am hoping to have the stadium done by September 1,” Almy said. He also said the rebuild project is planned to start around the middle of May, although this may be subject to change.

Currently, the plan for the new bleachers for the opposite side of the football field would replace them with a new version that will be roughly three to four times the volume of the current main bleachers. The current bleachers, however, will not be changed in the stadium rebuild. The new bleachers will also have new press boxes, a better rain cover, and seating areas for people with wheelchairs.

Other amenities like bathrooms, concession stands, and locker rooms will be moved to the nearby “horseshoe” area of the space surrounding the field, as the cost of placing them beneath the bleachers as originally planned would be too high. There is some concern about whether the distance of the new bleachers will discourage people from coming to games, however, and would make remodeling the far bleachers less practical.