ANACORTES — Construction on Anacortes High School’s new Rice Field football stadium is on track, on budget and has come a long way in the last few months.
“When we started this project in May, this was a grassy bank and that was a grassy field,” said Project Manager Marc Estvold, standing behind the new bleachers overlooking the field.
Workers are laying the football field this week, which requires carefully placed sections of artificial turf to be sewn together, Estvold said.
A cork and sand mixture will then be poured over the top of the turf to complete the field, he said. Yardage markings and the school logo will be sewn onto the turf in the next few weeks.
The project is moving along quickly, Estvold said. The goal is to have the stadium open by Sept. 29, in time for the first home game.
“It’s sort of a behemoth of a project for a summer,” Superintendent Mark Wenzel said.
The new covered bleachers, which sit on what used to be a large hill behind the high school, will be equipped with more efficient LED lighting.
When complete, the track that encircles the field will be purple, one of the school’s colors, Estvold said.
Projects such as this are complicated, Estvold said, because of the large amount of earth that needs to be moved in order to build the stadium.
The $8 million stadium project is the first of three stages in the district’s nearly $90 million high school construction project.
The stadium project needed to be completed first so the district can begin the second stage, which includes building the new high school wing at the old Rice Field location.
“We’re continuing to work on construction documents for that,” Wenzel said.
The district is hoping construction on the high school building will begin in March, Wenzel said.
The final phase will be renovations of Brodniak Hall, the high school gym and the Career and Technical Education wing.
Overall, Wenzel said he is happy with how the project is coming along and is excited to welcome community members to the new stadium come fall.
“Our commitment all along has been to deliver a high-quality project,” Wenzel said.
A dedication Oct. 5 for Memorial Plaza, which will serve as the entrance to Rice Field, will honor two Medal of Honor winners with connections to Anacortes.