Created on Thursday, 28 August 2014 Written by MATT HAMMOND
AcuSport Stadium to be dedicated Friday
After many months of planning, fundraising and designing, Bellefontaine is ready to put its revamped stadium on display Friday.
The main feature of the renovations to Bellefontaine’s football stadium is an artificial playing surface. The stadium will be dedicated as AcuSport Stadium on Friday as the Chiefs host Wapakoneta for the season opener. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)
AcuSport Stadium, as it will now be known, will host Wapakoneta for the Chiefs’ season opener. There will be a pre-game ceremony starting at 6:45 p.m. as part of the stadium dedication night. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.
“It is a very proud feeling to be able to present this to the community,” said BHS athletic director Matt Comstock. “A lot of people on the stadium committee have done a majority of the work. To see it all come together has been very impressive to watch.”
An artificial playing surface has been installed along with a new state-of-the-art scoreboard with a video screen. The press box has also been renovated and railings have been placed in the aisles of the home bleachers.
New bleachers on the visitor’s side of the field will be added later this season. The school’s booster club is also continuing its fundraising project to add a multi-purpose building with restrooms and a concession stand in the future.
It was announced late last year that AcuSport, which has been producing outdoor and shooting sports products in Bellefontaine since 1965, had agreed to donate $750,000 toward the improvements. The BHS athletic boosters have worked to raise the rest of the money for the project, which will have a total cost of more than $1.5 million when completed.
“A lot of work has been done in a short time period,” said Comstock. “When the committee talked about having this done in time for this season, I thought ‘how are we going to do that?’ But a lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to make this happen.”
A state-of-the-art scoreboard, which includes a video screen, was installed over the summer as part of the stadium improvement project.
During the pre-game ceremony, several former coaches and athletic directors will be recognized. At least two family members of the late H.A. Dodd also are expected to attend. Bellefontaine’s football stadium was dedicated as “Dodd Stadium” in 1971 to honor the former Bellefontaine coach, athletic director and educator.
A memorial in Dodd’s honor eventually will be erected at the stadium.
“We feel honored to be able to have some of Coach Dodd’s family at the game Friday,” said Comstock.
With the improvements, Bellefontaine will now be able to host playoff games, which can make a nice profit for the athletic boosters.
For the Chieftain football team, it hopes to cap the evening with a win over the Redskins.
“This is an exciting time for Bellefontaine football,” said second-year head coach Toby Smith. “We are thrilled to be a part of it. Hopefully, we can put a quality product on the field to thank everyone who has put in the work to make this a reality.”
A large crowd is expected Friday. Comstock encourages fans to buy presale tickets, which are available at the school and at JC Sports in Bellefontaine. Reserve seats are also available. Only those with reserve tickets will be able to sit in that section.
Athletic officials are planning for a “red out” in the home bleachers and Chieftain fans are asked to wear red to the game.