Construction of the concrete “stadium” at the Kearney High School athletic field on West 21st Street was designed primarily to provide dressing rooms for the high school athletes, but also provides seating for a large number of sports fans. It was built on the north side of the track, and measured 76 by 37 feet in size, costing $15,500.00. The stadium and locker room building was in its final stages of construction in December 1938, and Kearneyites were excited that their students would, for the first time, have the benefit of modern, convenient sports facilities.
Plans for the stadium were prepared by architects McClure and Walker of Kearney. The stadium would provide a seating capacity of 700 sports fans. This field is used primarily for practice, while regular high school football games were played at the college gridiron. The project included, in addition to bleacher seats and dressing rooms, an ornamental fence to surround the whole field. A cinder track circling the football field was constructed at the field in advance of the construction of the stadium seating.
Henry A. Knutzen, Kearney contractor, was given the contract for the construction of the stadium, coming $30.00 below architects cost estimates. Construction began just days before the start deadline of September 30, 1938. Foundations were largely in place by the deadline. The stadium was nearing completion in mid-December and formally accepted in January. It was announced that there would be no maintenance cost, as the coaches and the students would take care of the custodial work for the school year, while school custodians would take care of the facility during the summers.
Prior to the opening kickoff of the first game of the 1939 football season, a dedication was planned. A student pep rally and parade led fans to the stadium, followed by National Anthem and brief talks. The Zip Club then led the crowd in the school song and various yells, after which Coach Klein introduced the captains of the Kearney and Bethany football teams.
Kearney Daily Hub, 2 May 1938. Kearney Daily Hub, 22 December 1938. Kearney Daily Hub, 26 July 1938. Kearney Daily Hub, 30 August 1938. Kearney Daily Hub, 28 September 1938. Kearney Daily Hub, 10 January 1939. Kearney Daily Hub, 22 September 1939.
Project originally submitted by Jill Dollberg on July 28, 2015.
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