Evansville High School rebuilds after stadium fire
EVANSVILLE--Fresh pavement, engraved bricks and a new press box will greet sports fans attending football and track events at Evansville High School this school year.
“The facility as a whole is looking really, really nice,” Business Manager Doreen Treuden said.
The upgrades come after a fire destroyed the press box just before the start of the football season last year, forcing the district to bring in portable bleachers for kickoff. A fundraising effort quickly started, and the Blue Devil Gridiron Club raised about $15,000, along with another $1,000 in other donations toward a new structure, Treuden said.
The donations allowed the district to build a concrete block structure to replace the wooden structure, which was on stilts, she said.
The new structure cost about $136,000, Treuden said. Since the fire in August 2013, the district was able to include the $25,000 insurance deductible into the 2013-14 budget, she said. Local Government Property Insurance Fund paid $94,943.
Several businesses and contractors donated items or reduced costs for the project.
The previous press box was one room, but the new one includes a coaches room, media room and a film room for each team as well as a larger space for the clock keeper and announcer.
Fire investigators were not able to determine a cause of the blaze, Treuden said. It might have been electrical, but they could not confirm it, she said.
The facility, renamed last year to Ron Grovesteen Field in honor of the school's longtime football coach, will feature inspiration from Lambeau Field.
The high school student council members were looking for a fundraiser after the fire, and adviser Mark Stano recalled an idea from a trip to Green Bay last fall.
A path of engraved red bricks replace the blacktop connecting the concession stand to the bleacher area. It's similar to an engraved brick walkway at Lambeau—“obviously at a much grander scale than we are doing,” Stano said.
The student council sold more than 300 engraved bricks at $30 each and installed about 3,500 bricks Aug. 15, he said.
The students are planning another round of brick sales this fall and hope to sell 100 more by the end of football season, he said.
“Any of that money would be pure profit for us, which would go toward the press box,” he said.
The track also was resurfaced this summer thanks to a “generous donation” of $23,700 from the Evansville Sports Boosters, Treuden said. The donation covered half of the expenses.
“It's really a much, much improved facility for our athletic teams that use the field,” she said.