MCDONALD, Ohio (WKBN) – What started three years ago as a discussion of whether to fix up the old stadium or build new, ended Friday night with the first game in the new stadium.
It’s not done yet — not even close — but it’s to a point where a game can be played.
McDonald Superintendent Kevin O’Connell cut the ribbon Friday evening, officially opening the new McDonald stadium.
“For us to have a football stadium like this and a track — we haven’t had a track meet in 30 years — so we’re really excited to get this opportunity for our kids,” O’Connell said.
“It’s more than I ever anticipated. When you actually get here and see it and see the venue and you look around and you see the trees, It’s just fabulous,” said John Saganich, principal of the McDonald School Board.
Fabulous, maybe, but not finished.
Construction of the visitors side stands needs completed and could not be used Friday night.
Card tables served as ticket booths, there’s no concession stand yet, and porta potties were the restrooms. Also two trailers had to be brought in for locker rooms.
“We know it’s important to take care of our parents and take care of our spectators, but the most important for us it getting these kids out on the field and let them have a chance to enjoy this. So once we knew the field was safe and ready, we really wanted to get them down here,” O’Connell said.
Doug and Lisa Gilligan showed up early to get a good seat. Their son Nathan is a senior running back and linebacker.
“He’s really excited to get a chance to play on it. We weren’t sure earlier in the year if we were going to get a chance to play, but they rushed and got it done. So these kids are excited to the chance to play on it,” Doug said.
The playing surface is artificial turf with “Blue Devils” printed in one end zone, the big “M” logo in the middle, and McDonald on the other end zone.
The track has been laid. It’s scheduled to be striped next week and will be ready for spring.
Before the game, seven-year-old second grader Henry Cappuzzello became one of the first to run a complete 400 meters, even kicking it in at the end.
Stan Boney: “Did you get tired?
Henry Cappuzzello: “Maybe a little bit.”
Stan Boney: “What do you think of the new track?”
Henry Cappuzzello: “Good.”
McDonald has its last home game next week against Western Reserve and it’s hoped the visitors side stands will be ready by then.
The restrooms, ticket booths, concession stand and locker rooms will have to wait for next season.