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Shepherd College readies new stadium for opener

September 14, 2000

Shepherd College readies new stadium for opener



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photos: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Monte CaterSHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Four years of planning, community input and construction to build a new football stadium at Shepherd College will become reality Saturday when school officials dedicate the field.

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Before the new stadium was built, crowds of people who could not find seats in the bleachers on the north side of the field sat on a rocky hillside on the south side of the stadium.

attaching name platesThe college decided to build 3,000 new seats on the south side of the field in a complex that also includes a new pressbox, bathrooms and a concession area.

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There was immediate concern from residents in Shepherdstown that the seating complex was too high and obstructed views in town. The school drew up new plans for the stadium that lowered the height of the facility.

Construction started in February, and despite cost overruns, the new field is expected to be ready for Saturday's 1 p.m. game against the St. Joseph Pumas.

"I think the fans are going to love it. You have a lot better vantage point from here than you do on the other side," said Chip Ransom, sports information director for the Rams.

The stadium was originally projected to cost $1.25 million, but the final price tag was about $2.2 million, said Monte Cater, Shepherd's head football coach and athletic director.

attaching name platesCater said the cost of the project rose because cost of materials increased from the time the college first started planning the project and when it was completed.

The seating area was constructed using bright aluminum bleachers that provided general admission and reserved seating. The pressbox and concession area are located in a red-brick building that was designed to fit in with the historic character of the town, according to Cater.

The statue of the Ram, which sat inconspicuously in some shrubs at one end of the field, was lifted with a crane and moved to the entrance of the new stadium.

"It will probably make for a lot of nice photo opportunities," Ransom said.

The field had to be moved 20 yards to the north to make room for the new seating, and a new underground irrigation system was installed in the field to replace and old one that was inefficient, Cater said.

A layer of dirt had to be excavated from the field to install the irrigation system, Cater said. That left a hard surface that has been difficult to grow grass on, he said.

"It was like trying to grow grass on a highway. We're hoping we don't get a lot of wet weather this fall or we'll grind it up," Cater said.

A number of dignitaries are expected to cut the ribbon on the new stadium Saturday, including college President David Dunlop and Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, who secured state funding for the project.

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