With Year 1 of the 5-year series bond under our belt, let’s turn our attention to 2019 (Year 2). Of course, the question everybody wants to know: “When will work begin on the new stadium?”
Preparations for a new stadium and Fine Arts addition will begin in summer 2019 with the rerouting of utilities. This must occur even before any demolition work can take place at the end of the year.
“All of the utility rerouting will take place in the summer to lessen any disruption for Union students or patrons,” said Associate Superintendent Charlie Bushyhead. “Visitors to the parking lot that serves the stadium and UMAC will see ditches and lots of yellow tape. It will mainly be pipe work, with the relocating of gas lines, water, sewer, electrical and fiber. While it’s not super-exciting in terms of what we will see, it literally lays the ground work for the new stadium and Fine Arts Center that will go in at the north end zone.”
Bushyhead said the utility work will not disrupt the south entrance of Union High School. “Many of the utilities run under or behind the stadium. At some point, we will have to turn off the power and gas to run through the new lines, but the disruption should be minimal. That’s why we’re doing this over the summer.”
Demolition of the west (home) side of the stadium will commence in December 2019, at the close of the 2019 football season. While Union does expect to host some games in 2020, they will likely be “smaller” games (e.g., not Union vs. Broken Arrow). Large attendance games are expected to take place at the opposing school, or at TU (the Backyard Bowl).
“Fall 2020 is the only year we expect to have a major issue due to stadium construction,” said Bushyhead. Construction on the new west side stands – including a new wrestling room, press box, visitor’s locker room, and two concession stands – will take place in winter 2020 and continue through April 2021.
“All stadium work will be completed in time for the 2021 football season, with the exception of the new Fine Arts wing; it will house the Renegade Regiment [marching band], and will be completed at a later date. Then we will finish the new bus loop. The construction cycle is totally driven by when the bond dollars become available.”
Unlike the west side, the stadium’s east side (“visitors”) will not be torn down. It will, however, undergo a renovation of the concessions, restrooms, storage rooms, and small locker room.“Updates to the visitor’s side will be more cosmetic, with updated fixtures and concrete repair to freshen things up,” said Bushyhead. “The concessions will be more accessible and there will be visible improvements.”
The east side renovation will be completed in time for the 2020 football season, while the home side remains down.
“I think everyone is going to be extremely pleased with the new stadium, once completed,” said Bushyhead. “In the meantime, we are going to do our best to minimize the disruptions.”
STADIUM - Tentative Construction Timeline
Phase 1 - $10,590,057 (Jan. 2019 to Aug. 2020)
Phase 2 - $13,375,004 (May 2020 to May 2021)
Phase 3 - $10,960,137 (May 2021 to March 2022)