|Northwestern College’s De Valois Stadium is getting new bleachers this summer. Aluminum bleachers with 3,100 seats will be installed by Aug. 14.
Employees of Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, Ellendale, Minn., have begun work on the footings, and the steel will be set in mid-July. The $630,000 project will be funded by a combination of college resources and a limited number of private donations.
“This was always in our long-range plans for the facility,” says Barry Brandt, Northwestern’s athletic director, “but the timeline was moved up to meet safety standards. The old bleachers had openings in the decking, in front and behind fans’ feet, and were a concern.”
The home bleachers will be 210 feet long, stretching from one 15-yard line to the other, and rise 20 rows. There will be four entrances: one on each end plus two walkways inside the grandstand. The visitors’ bleachers will be 150 feet long, running from one 25-yard line to the other, and be 10 rows high.
Fans’ sightlines will be improved because the bleachers will feature a steeper incline than the previous stands. The risers will be colored red, and the decking will be completely enclosed underneath. The project will increase the stadium’s seating capacity by about 900.
Bouma Construction of Orange City will construct a one-story press box that will attach to the top of the grandstand. Running 96 feet wide by 12 feet deep, the press box will be an aluminum-skinned prefab structure with heating and cooling, a hospitality suite, and accordion windows in the film room that can be opened completely.
The bleacher installation is the latest in a series of recent renovations to De Valois Stadium. In 2003, an eight-lane polyurethane track was completed and the bleachers on the visitors’ side were moved. A locker room facility was also built. A synthetic FieldTurf playing surface and Daktronics scoreboard were installed in 2004, at which time the field was named Korver Field in honor of former Head Football Coach Larry Korver and his wife, Betty.
“We have had a really good performance arena, with an outstanding track and playing surface for soccer and football,” says Brandt. “Now our spectators and people who do the statistical work for us will have facilities comparable to what the athletes have on the field. This project will give us a beautiful, highly functional stadium.”
Brandt says the final phase of the stadium renovation, to be completed when funds are available, includes enclosing the bleachers with brick or decorative block and constructing new entrances.
Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises is a subsidiary of Southern Bleacher Company, Graham, Texas, the nation’s largest stadium manufacturer. The company is currently installing Stanford University’s new stadium, and it provided the seating for Southern Methodist University’s football stadium, Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, the Georgia Tech baseball complex and Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
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