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More than 1,000 residents attend stadium open house

Open house allows high school to celebrate a great achievement

Photo by LESLIE A. PANFIL Residents check out the turf at the Stadium Foundation community open house.


Residents check out the turf at the Stadium Foundation community open house.

Photo by LESLIE A. PANFIL Donors prominently displayed near the new concession stand and spirit wear shop.


Donors prominently displayed near the new concession stand and spirit wear shop.


The Post contributor


It was a temperate day with clear skies and soft breezes for the Stadium Foundation's Open House. Over 1,000 members of the community perused the stadium's new synthetic turf, eight-lane competitive track, reserved seating, press box, restrooms, concession stands, walkways, fencing, wheelchair accessible ramping and recently designed landscaping.

North Royalton residents Mike and Anita Ambrose were among the first open house attendees.

"We have lived in North Royalton for 45 years," said Mike. "Our kids and now our grand kids go to North Royalton." Mike and Anita have three grandchildren in the system including an 11th grade, ninth grade and second grade students.

"Everyone involved should be very proud of the work done here. That field is finer than what the Browns play on."

"Our son will return for his Class of '76 reunion this fall and I can't wait for him to see this beautiful field," said Anita. The Ambrose family is also friends of the field's namesake, Chuck Gibson.

"We are so happy for him. He is so deserving of this honor," she said.

"Even though we are Strongsville residents, our heart is in North Royalton," said Dick Krause. Krause who works the scoreboard, also said he was thrilled to be sharing the stadium with Holy Name.

"This is a state-of-the-art facility and paid for without going to the taxpayers. That is a huge accomplishment," he said.

The Stadium Foundation was hard at work continuing to raise money with its Serpentini Chevrolet car raffle, reserved seating and spirit wear sales.

According to Foundation Member, Bo Kuntz, "We have sold 350 of the designated 534 reserved seats."

Preferred seats are $100 for the season or three years for $250 and include: admission for all home games (a $30 value); molded seat with back and arm rests; defined personal space; same seat every game; seating between the 40-yard lines; and an option to renew next season. To purchase preferred seating, call the Athletic Office at 440-582-7822.

Sales of spirit wear were also brisk.

"The inaugural season pins and the T-shirts have been really popular," said Foundation member and Open House Chairman, Dr. John Kelly. "Sales of stadium foundation spirit wear have brought in about $500."

As an integral part of the team who made this enormous project possible, Kelly said he was most proud of the new press box.

"The press box is a huge improvement," he said. "Coaches now have the capacity to use notebook computers in the box. It will be more comfortable and efficient for everyone who uses it."

Kelly, who has also volunteered in the stadium concession stand said, "We now have commercial-grade appliances. I don't think anyone realizes we were working with donated items that often took some jostling to work and many non-functioning electrical outlets."

The event program contained some amazing facts. The new stadium contains 40 toilets replacing the four toilets and several portable toilets. The new grandstand is 60 feet in height, which is more than double the height of the old stands.

Over 9,000 tons of gravel and earth were moved to prepare the site. And a staggering 2,000 yards of concrete and 3,000 tons of asphalt were poured. Nearly 150 tons of recycled rubber was used for the field and track accounting for the removal of over 18,000 tires from Ohio's landfills.

There will be continued economies in the switch from grass to synthetic material in the coming years. Water consumption from hydrating the football and soccer fields will no longer be expended. The elimination of harmful fertilizers and pesticides will save the system over $2,500 a year. The reduced use of mowers and trimmers will save the district fuel costs and eliminate clippings and yard waste.

In addition to savings, the stadium hopes to increase revenues and bolster the local economy through added concession and rental income.

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