By Ray Hamill — It appears as if the Eureka Loggers are going to get the funds for long overdue upgrades to Albee Stadium.
The Loggers are expecting confirmation within a week, but according to Chairman of the Alumni Association Dale Maples, Measure T looks as if it will pass and provide the necessary money.
By less than one percent.
According to Maples, a 12-person design committee made up of parents, coaches, school administration and boosters did everything they could to keep Jay Willard Gymnasium, another local iconic sporting arena.
The cost of renovation, however, would have been more than the cost of building a new gymnasium.
“We just couldn’t in good grace spend that much of the taxpayers’ money,” Maples said.
The new gym will allow for more teams to practice at the same time, alleviating the scheduling pressure for the school’s six basketball and two wrestling teams.
For now, however, progress has been stalled while awaiting approval from the Division of State Architect.
The expected stadium upgrades, meanwhile, will include the football, softball and baseball fields, as well as the track and field facilities.
The stands in Albee Stadium also are expected to be upgraded, along with the concession stand — which currently operates out of a shipping container — and the toilets.
The fields, which are currently deemed not safe to play on, feature sink holes all the way from the scoreboard across Del Norte Street and into the baseball outfield.
They will be reevaluated before the fall seasons, but the baseball and softball teams were forced to find alternative home fields this spring.
“The drainage has failed in many, many locations,” Maples said. “There are sink holes bubbling up on the track. There hasn’t been a track meet there in probably a decade.
“Albee Stadium is 100 years old. It’s a difficult property to maintain.”
It’s also a stadium that has a lot of tradition and one the Loggers will be eager to continue to play in.
“I work up in the press box and there isn’t one coach that I have met that isn’t amazed by the beauty of where we get to play football,” Maples added.
The plan is to install an all-weather field for football and soccer — something the NCS is essentially mandating if the school wants to host playoff games — while keeping grass for both the baseball and softball fields.
Maples praised the efforts of Eureka City Schools Superintendent Fred Van Vleck and his staff for securing the state matching funds, as well as the cooperation of St. Bernard’s.
The Crusaders softball team has played at the Eureka City Schools’ Washington Field for years, but volunteered to move to Samoa to provide the Loggers the opportunity to play there this spring.
“St. Bernard’s really stepped up and made this a smaller problem than it could have been,” Maples said. “I applaud them for making it easy.”