PARKERSBURG - There are two major storylines developing in the ongoing effort to get Stadium Field open.
First, it appears that-barring unforeseen circumstances such as a construction delay-the fundraising effort to have the stadium ready to open for Parkersburg High's Sept. 20 football game against Capital has been successful.
Dr. Joe Weaver, who serves as the spokesman for a group of local businessmen raising money for the project, said his latest estimate is that another $32,500 must be raised to complete the project.
Dr. Joe Weaver, who serves as the spokesman for a group of local businessmen raising money for the Stadium Field project, said his latest estimate is that another $32,500 must be raised to complete the project. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)
"If we raise that money in the next 10 days, we think we are there,'' Weaver said during Monday night's meeting of the PHS Stadium Committee.
"I'm now a smiling man,'' he said. "I'm not scared like I was.''
Weaver's optimism is based on the amount of money that keeps coming in from various sources. For example, the paypal option to donate at phsbigredsfootball.com has accounted for more than $9,000 in donations. On Monday night, the PHS graduating class of 1952 contributed $562.
So it appears the money to complete the project in time to meet the Sept. 20 goal will be there and the home (press box) side of the stadium not only will be open but will be much better than ever before.
That will allow Stadium Field to hold approximately 4,100 fans for a sporting event.
But the prospects of increasing that number in the near future look bleak.
Last Friday, stadium supporters met with representatives of ZMM Construction of Charleston regarding the visitors side of the stadium.
"It didn't sound hopeful,'' Weaver said. "We were told not one soul could plant their feet on that side of the stadium.''
In other words, it is going to take another massive fundraising effort the size of the present one to increase Stadium Field's seating capacity to more than 4,100.
That would make it difficult for the stadium to conduct the annual Parkersburg High-Parkersburg South football game, which often attracts more than twice that number. It also will mean that those supporting the visiting team will be mixed in with PHS fans on the only side of the stadium that can be occupied.
"We are going to get the stadium open and it will be beautiful,'' Weaver said of the fundraising project, which has been a joint effort of the PHS Stadium Committee and the local businessmen who offered their support and connections.
But it will be just half open as there appears to be little chance of getting an occupancy permit for the visiting side of the stadium without doubling down on another multi-million dollar project.
In addition to all the private donations supporting the stadium, the Wood County Board of Education committed $700,000 in funds and members of the stadium committee secured a $600,000 loan.