RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — Cranes gently lowered the press box into place Tuesday at Wheelersburg’s new Ed Miller football stadium. The $3.2 million stadium is still on schedule to open for a public Meet the Team night on Aug. 18.
The new stadium will provide handicapped-accessible bleacher seating for 1,700 fans, and the new field is artificial turf. There are updated restrooms and concession stands, and the newly positioned press box will be more accommodating for game-day workers, coaches and members of the media. The stadium was built in the footprint of the former football stadium.
“We kept the existing visiting bleachers because I’d say those are only about 12 years old. Those were in real good shape, then we basically rebuilt everything else,” said Wheelersburg Athletics Director Chris Porter. “We rebuilt the home bleacher, a new field house which will have locker rooms for home and visiting teams and coaches offices, and actually a weight room for the varsity football team.”
He said everything is closer to the field, and the fans will feel like they are right on top of the action.
The project was made possible partly with federal stimulus dollars and financing partnerships with WesBanco. The rest was privately donated, including $250,000 from the Wheelersburg Athletic Association. After years of planning, the Wheelersburg School Board approved the project in December 2011 and construction began in January 2012.
Like the school’s former football stadium, the new field is named for Coach Ed Miller who led the Pirates from 1972 to 1982 and again from 1984 to 1991, with 173 career wins and 14 SOC titles.
Mullins Construction is the general contractor for about $2.1 million, and Field Turf USA is providing the artificial turn for another $540,000. The remaining funds were used on legal and architectural fees, bringing the project total to $3.2 million.
“It’s really coming together. We’ve had great weather, which has helped. The turf so far has exceeded our expectations. It’s beautiful and colorful, everyone has been real impressed with that,” Porter said.
The first game in the new football stadium will be Aug. 24, when the Pirates host the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.