PARKERSBURG - Parkersburg High School and Stadium Field Committee officials are optimistic Stadium Field will be ready to open for the Big Reds' Sept. 20 football game there against Capital.
Before that happens, there are two major remaining obstacles to overcome. One is to get an occupancy permit from the state fire marshal's office. A representative is scheduled to meet with Ryan Taylor, the project engineer on the Stadium Field renovation project, next Monday to go over what needs to be done for that to happen. Taylor is hoping to have the permit in hand by Thursday, Sept. 19, the day before the game.
As far as the construction project goes, work has progressed at a rapid rate. About the only part of the project that could hold up the opening is the installation of handrails, as not all of the handrails ordered have yet to arrive on site.
Taylor said if necessary, temporary handrails could be installed for the Capital game. While they won't give the stadium the wow factor the new handrails will create, they would at least allow it to be open.
This has been a community project with donations continuing to arrive on a daily basis. In giving her financial report, treasurer Charlotte Potter said $131,786 has been received so far this month. That almost exactly matches the amount of money local businessmen needed to raise to get the project completed. A newspaper ad soliciting donations has drawn a strong response as has the paypal option on the Big Reds football web site.
The committee also raised $5,395 from its Sunday bingo program and friends of former PHS teacher Larry Hattman, who passed away last week, have donated more than $1,100 in his memory.
One of the firms doing work on the stadium, Avan Precast, has enjoyed the project so much, it donated $2,500 to the cause.
"We are making good headway,'' said Taylor of Pickering Associates. "We had 27 workers here last Friday.''
Taylor said major portions of the project such as the seating, brackets and plumbing are going well.
Earl Johnson, who serves as chairman of the stadium committee, praised the skill and work ethic of those who have toiled at the stadium.
In anticipation of the stadium opening on Sept. 20, committee members are starting to make plans for a celebration that night. They want to honor all of those who have made the renovations possible.
Committee members also want to make right something that took place in the past when Susan Storck Ross made a donation that added a second level onto the Stadium Field press box. Although a plaque honoring the late Robert Storck adorns the press box, committee members would like for his name to appear on the facility, while also maintaining the Steve Daugherty Booth in honor of the former PHS announcer. That matter will be taken to the Wood County Board of Education, which must approve the naming of all school facilities.
Committee members also agreed to reimburse Parkersburg High School for the rent it paid to play its opening football game at Don Drumm Stadium in Parkersburg.
Once the home side of the stadium is completed, committee members will begin discussing how to proceed on the visitors side of the facility.