New stadium at West Ottawa High School

New stadium at West Ottawa High School

Lani Salinas

You won’t feel rushed and have to get ready because ‘you might miss the bus’, and no one wants to get yelled at by the coach for being late on the bus,” Soph. Ryan Stam said. No more getting yelled at, no more “sorry coach, I got stuck in traffic”, and no more “I forgot my cleats at the school.” 

   Many athletes run into problems going from the high school to the middle school campus for practice or a game. With a new soccer and football stadium coming, many students don’t have to worry anymore. 

   “Excuse me, where is your football field?” 

   “Oh, go back the way you came and you’ll see the middle school, and the field is there.” No more confusion, WO soon will have a stadium. 

   The new stadiums will be interesting, but a few of the characteristics stand out.

Large video board

   Instead of a 12×20 foot scoreboard, there will be an 18×30 foot video board at the football field. The action will be recorded and played back on the board so the audience can see highlights and close plays. Very few high schools have the advantage of having a video board. With the video board, it will be able to show the players running out of the dome like a college and professional game experience. It will also give WOBN the opportunities to create and produce content to show. “It’s going to be awesome,” Athletic Director Bill Kennedy said.

Fan amenities

   The fans will get to enjoy bigger bleachers, nicer concession stands, and newer bathrooms. Adding elevated fan experiences will attract more community members to the fields. An increase in attendance will be noticed since there will be a new facility. The community will be intrigued by what was added. While they get to view all the additions for the players, they will get to use improvements made for them. “This facility will be something that the community will be very proud of,” Kennedy said.

Both fields will be turf, no more real grass

   Weather won’t affect the fields anymore, and the rain won’t flood the fields and interrupt the game. “Not having so many holes can prevent a lot of injuries,” Cooper Terpstra. Not only will it help the players, but it will also help the marching band. “It is much easier to march on turf because it is smoother and there are no holes left by cleats,” Band Student Erilyn Mann said.

Separate bleachers for the band

   The north end zone of the football field will have a separate set of bleachers for the band. In the current set up, fans and members of the Black Hole occasionally wander through the band seating area, sometimes knocking into the expensive instruments. “We know they don’t mean to, we know it’s just an accident, but it still happens,” Band Director Mike Hamann said. Additionally, band members are excited to have a space that will be their own.

Home locker rooms underneath the home bleachers 

   Instead of running out of a barn, the players will be able to run out from under their fans. “The thing I hope for the most is locker rooms under the bleachers or throughout a tunnel, something cool we could have an entrance too and get a little hype before a game,” Stam said. Traditions will be formed as they were in the old locker room. Running out of a tunnel in the middle of fans and hearing the cheers will give the effect of a college or professional game. 

Additional locker rooms

   A large building that will sit in between the two fields will house four locker rooms, coaches offices, an officials locker room, and an official training room. When a player is injured, the trainers can bring them to the trainers office. If there are larger teams, there will be an ability to make their locker room bigger as well.  “It’s going to be different from anything in West Michigan,” Kennedy said. “It’s going to be state of the art,” Principal Jason Reinecke said.

   Breaking ground is right around the corner, in spring of 2021, demolition will start across from the north building student parking lot. With a good estimate, the fields are hoping to be finished by Class of 2023’s senior year. The fields are on their way!