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Memorial Stadium construction on track, campaign joins GO BIG GIVE

West Memorial Stadium is no longer a vacant space, as new walls, stairs and light poles have been installed.

The Memorial Stadium construction is moving along right on track and the structure will be up by the first Islander football game on Sept. 1, said Dan Petsch, GIPS Director of Buildings and Grounds. The plan is to have the stand ready to use for fans to sit in for the games, but the rest of the facility - the press box, restrooms, locker rooms, concession stands and other internal rooms - will likely not be ready for the start of the fall season.

The construction is possible because of hundreds of donors who contributed to the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation’s Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium project. However, the project still needs about $1 million to reach the fundraising goal. The project is included in this year’s GO BIG GIVE campaign on May 2 to help reach the finish line.

Traci Skalberg, executive director of the GIPS Foundation, said the primary fundraising goal was $15.3 million. Currently, $14,292,161 has been committed to the project.

Skalberg said she is very thankful to the 409 donors who have contributed to the project. She said in 1947 when the previous stadium was funded, 1,600 people donated. Skalberg and project co-chairs Jeff “Whitey” Richardson and Jim Karhoff agreed they need more donors.

“Any little bit will help, and it will add up and we will get there,” Richardson said.

Memorial Stadium

“The heavy lift is ahead,” Skalberg said. “We need many, many, many donors to make it across the finish line.”

Karhoff spoke of the project’s role in honoring our nation’s heroes.

“Not only will it (the new and updated stadium) help the community, but it will honor the veterans,” Karhoff saif. “It’ll honor the veterans from Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Desert Storm (in addition to the veterans honored from previous wars and conflicts). It’s going to really be nice and I think it’s right that we give tribute to those people who sacrificed their lives.”

The project is broken into two parts. The first part includes the new west stadium and the renovation of the east stadium. The second part is the $17 million expanded project, which will add a building to east stadium and remodel the veterans memorial.

GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover expressed the importance of the new and renovated stadium to the district and community.

“It is about all the schools in Grand Island, as well as the organizations and the families that will be able to celebrate here for many years to come,” Dr. Grover said. “We hope that the work being done through our GIPS Foundation would be inspirational, and when people look back five years from now or 20 years from now, they can be proud of the people who thought about the impact this project would have on our community.”

“It’s time for us to give our community a home field advantage,” Dr. Grover said.

Skalberg said together our community can complete the project, as any amount helps. GO BIG GIVE is a great opportunity for people to donate to the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium campaign, as well as the Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium project website, gimemorialstadium.org.

“Our community needs it, and our kids need it,” Skalberg said of the new stadium. “We’re all in it for the entire project. We’re excited for what we’ve accomplished so far, and we cannot wait to see the end results.”

Memorial Stadium

 

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