As the Wheeling Park Patriots take the field in West Liberty Thursday, crews at Wheeling Island Stadium are ahead of schedule to get the team back on home turf.
Superintendent Rick Jones said the latest date they were given for completion is September 1st, however that could change.
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A project that could have cost Ohio County Schools close to $1 million, and kept the team off their home turf until the middle of October, is surprising school officials, fans and students in a good way.
“We’re used to this place our kids are used to it the coaches are used to it, so we’re excited to get back,” Jones said. Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said the Patriots should be able to take the field again on September 15th.
So, what changed?
All new caulk was added to the stands and the structure, and steel reinforcements that Jones said couldn’t be more secure.
“Up here you’ll see the reinforcement on each side, and then they connect on the back of it, I’m not sure anything can move these things at this point.”
During the repairs no seating was lost.
Another sigh of relief for officials was the the cost coming in significantly lower than estimated at $407,000.
“We will have our structural engineer at the end of this walk and do an inspection on everything and clear the place that it’s safe, and at that point it’s just game on as usual.”
Jones said that the best part will be when the seats and field will be filled with Blue and Red again.
“Homecoming was a big concern for me,” Jones said. “I think everybody should have their homecoming in their stadium, that’s their student section, it’s just this is their stadium so they’ll be excited to get back.”
Jones said that they may be able to have a soccer game inside the stadium even before the university game on September 11. He said they are very grateful to West Liberty for being great hosts to them as they get ready to take on Brooke tonight.