Renovations delayed at Legends Stadium

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Flathead’s Ben Perrin rounds a corner ahead of the field during the 3,200-meter race of the Kalispell Invitational at Legends Stadium earlier this year. (Aaric Bryan file photo/Daily Inter Lake)

A delay in the renovation of Legends Stadium means the local football season openers will be relocated.

The original Aug. 11 completion date of Legends Stadium has been pushed back to early September.

The delay in construction is due to permitting issues, according to Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau, along with changes and additional excavation work related to relocation of a manhole discovered underneath the field’s 30 yard line to outside the track and field area.

The Flathead High School football team will play its Aug. 24 home game versus Butte at a location to be determined. Columbia Falls and Whitefish high schools are currently being considered as possibilities.

The Glacier High School football team is also in discussion with Whitefish as an alternative location to play its upcoming home games. On the schedule is an Aug. 25 home game versus Billings Senior and a Sept. 1 home game versus CM Russell. Glacier Athletic Director Mark Dennehy said the school’s practice field is also an option, however there aren’t any bleachers for seating. Games may also have to be scheduled earlier because there isn’t stadium lighting.

Approximately $958,100 is earmarked from a $28.8 million high school district bond issue to upgrade Legends. That amount does not include an additional $13,994 the Kalispell Public Schools board of trustees decided to allocate from a building reserve fund in June for the relocation of the manhole.

The biggest changes in the field will be the switch from natural grass to synthetic turf and mitigating drainage issues that have plagued playability over the past decades.

The renovation project is the first major improvement of field conditions since 2000.

Pole-vault runways will be relocated on the south end of the complex and shot put to the western part of the property. The relocations will provide additional space for a regulation soccer field. Other improvements to the stadium include updating the officials’ locker room and expanding bleachers.

For updated athletic schedules visit http://www.sd5.k12.mt.us.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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