GRC opens new stadium Friday against Tates Creek

Published 10:21 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

George Rogers Clark High School’s first home football game of the season will truly be a monumental occasion, as the school unveils the first phase of its new state-of-the-art athletics complex.

Although the new football stadium will be officially dedicated during the Sept. 6 match up with Tates Creek High School, the project has been years in the making.

The project was approved by the Clark County Board of Education in May 2016 after a facilities committee met for several months and established the athletics complex at the new GRCHS campus as the top facilities priority in the district.

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The project was the second and third phases of the new high school campus, and had been delayed for several years after phase one of the school was completed.

That delay left GRCHS student athletes competing on fields at other schools and offered its share of challenges for scheduling practice and performance areas in the community.

Perhaps most notably, the delay in the project left GRCHS students without a space large enough to meet as a student body.

For years, the board has continuously worked to see through the nearly $28 million project — phase two costs $21,286,557 and phase three costs $6,580,396.

Finally, though, the wait is over.

Despite rain delays that pushed the anticipated opening from July to the fall, the new football complex will officially open to the public Friday, with all the fanfare to go along with it.

GRCHS issued a press release last week announcing the celebration for the new field.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of this long-awaited stadium complex and invite everyone in Winchester and Clark County to celebrate with us,” GRCHS principal David Bolen said in the release.

The dedication festivities will being at 6:30 p.m., with kickoff at 8 p.m.

In addition to the celebration of the new complex, there will be a special recognition of the 1991 GRC state championship football team at halftime.

Admission for the game and celebration is free.

“We hope to fill the seats as we experience the reality of what we have all dreamed about for many years,” Bolen said. “It is truly a first-class complex with superior design and features. We are beyond proud to finally play our first game in the GRC Cardinal Stadium.”

The board first approved the athletic complex design schematics from RossTarrant Architects and Codell Construction in March 2017. However, over the past two years, the board has voted on some design changes and have looked at the project in more detail.

The home seating for the football stadium is 3,500 seats and visitor seating is 1,000. The football field is a turf surface with a safety shock-absorbing system below the surface, and the field is of a size to accommodate soccer.

The rest of the complex is due to be completed in the coming year.

The plans include a 60,000-square-foot facility to house a gymnasium, complete with exposed 140-feet-long roof trusses, that will seat about 4,300 people.

The competition gym at the high school — which has an auxiliary gymnasium for practices — will also have weight rooms and meeting rooms, as well as a trophy showcase and a lobby. It will also be large enough to host graduation ceremonies and regional tournaments.

The facilities also include an eight-lane track and new athletic equipment for all track and field events. There are locker rooms, office and storage space and concession areas beneath the home grandstand.

The 18,500-square-feet field house also includes a weight room, batting cages and interior turf multipurpose space for drills and more. Both baseball and softball have an individual press box, lighting and sound systems.

The tennis courts will be one of the last parts constructed. Currently, crews are storing the soil and other materials in the spot where the courts will be.

Plans also include a multipurpose room that will be used by the school’s JROTC program.

Phase three is the construction of the field house, baseball and softball fields, and is set to begin soon. That phase is anticipated to be completed in summer 2020.