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Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

Work to make stadium easier to navigate

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles detailing plans to renovate Eggerss stadium.

JOHN WHITE/special to the VW independent

Traditions: the passing of customs or beliefs from generation to generation

All over America one thing unites us in the late summer and early fall: high school football on Friday nights. This tradition is enjoyed by millions of fans, each in their own unique way and locality. This is not lost on Van Wert with generations of band members, cheerleaders, trainers, coaches, referees, announcers and of course players, all adding to the excitement of the night. Eggerss stadium is our local place to be and perfectly fits the definition of tradition.

Eggerss Stadium lights the sky on a typical Football Friday in downtown Van Wert. Photo submitted

But why stop there? New traditions are being born all the time. Our community has the unique opportunity to keep decades old tradition alive while beginning new ones. It all starts with our stadium and its downtown location. What are some of the future possibilities? Just to name a few: music concerts, health fairs, soccer matches, hosting marching band and cheerleading competitions, etc. The list is only limited to our imagination.

Did you know Eggerss stadium can accommodate up to 3,200 people on the home side alone? The structure is over 250 feet long and 50 feet wide consisting of 2000 tons of reinforced concrete. However, to carry on for another 85 years, there is work to be done. This week, we’ll focus on three areas of need: the stadium infrastructure, aisle ways and handicap access.

The concrete restoration of the stadium infrastructure will include refinishing and sealing rebar underneath the stadium to include adding concrete and surfacing to all areas to make it structurally and aesthetically sound. In addition, new lighting and limited seating underneath the stadium will give fans a welcoming place to go. The seating area on the front side will include similar concrete restoration plus all new seating. Civil engineers will assess all aspects of the seating area to ensure that the stadium is well suited for another 85 years. Repairs and restoration will also be made to the ticket booth and Cougar Pride wall making the entire stadium complex uniform and structurally sound.

The current aisles leading to the top of the stadium are rather narrow and lack support for climbing or descending. New and wider aisles are planned with handrails running down of the middle.

Finally, there needs to be significant improvements for those with mobility issues.

“Currently Eggerss stadium is not conducive or user friendly to anyone who is handicapped or needs different seating,” Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Mark Bagley said. “Today they sit in the northwest corner of the stadium next to the end zone. Visibility can be poor, especially on rainy nights and the weather makes their experience difficult. In addition, fans may go to the southeast corner by the flag and experience similar difficulties..”

To address these concerns and shortcomings, plans are to build an elevator on the backside of the stadium near the press box area. A platform and seating in front of the press box will serve our handicapped fans and their families. Additionally, another platform structure will be built on the southwest end of the stadium with similar seating. All told, the stadium will be able to accommodate up to 50 handicap seating spaces. There will be enhanced parking as well. More on that to come.

In future articles, we’ll tackle the topics of a new turf field, additional parking spaces, band bleachers, restrooms, concessions, press box, locker rooms, and storage. It all adds up to a functional space that will serve the community well. To make it all happen, a bond levy will be added to the ballot in the spring. We’ll also talk more about that in the coming weeks.

Eggerss Stadium and Van Wert: Unique and United!

POSTED: 10/20/21 at 3:52 am. FILED UNDER: News