Upgrades coming to ERHS stadium

School receives $1.4 million grant


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By next year, Eagle River High is hoping its stadium will be complete — for football anyway.

The school plans to use a $1.4 million grant from the Alaska Legislature to add grandstand seating for 1,500 fans, a press box, lighting, a PA system, fencing around the field and relocate the existing concession stand. Last year, Eagle River used a $130,000 grant from the Legislature to add bleacher seating for about 400.

Anchorage-based architecture firm USKH Inc. presented its conceptual design for the project at a public meeting Wednesday, Aug. 7 at ERHS.

Principal Marty Lang said he hopes the upgrades will increase the number of students involved in after-school activities. Lang said students who participate in sports tend to have better grades, a higher graduation rate and miss fewer days of school.

A large portion of the student body, not just football players, will benefit from the field’s new amenities, Lang said. Aside from the athletes, football games involve many students, he said, including cheerleaders, band members, student government representatives and fans.

Though it’s a year away, Eagle River junior Isaiah Banks can’t wait to take the home field next season.

“That’s going to be something to see,” he said.

Lang said the plan is for bids to go out mid-winter and work to begin after school’s out in May 2014. Lang thanked local legislators for supporting the project.

Originally, the grant was given to the Parks and Recreation department. But, Lang said, the board turned the money over to the Anchorage School District because of its experience constructing stadiums.

Any leftover funds will be returned to Parks and Rec, Lang said, to pay for lighting of ski trails around the school.

The vision for athletic improvements to the school doesn’t stop there.

Future plans include connecting ski trails around the campus to trails across Yosemite Drive; adding a discus and shot put throwing area; expanding jumping pits to bring them up to regulation standards; adding a hockey rink and tennis courts; and building an overflow parking lot.

While the project is far from complete and nothing is set in stone, Lang said he wants to hear input from the community about the proposals.

So does USKH. The firm will make a presentation about the Eagle River High project at the next South Fork Community Council meeting Sept. 5 in room D107 at ERHS at 7 p.m.

USKH is also slated to present a preliminary site plan to the Anchorage Assembly on Nov. 13.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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