It is the end of an era, but a new one is soon to begin. On September 18 demolition will begin on the grandstands at War Memorial Field located at Sandpoint’s Barlow Stadium.
The existing grandstands were built in 1946 – the year Harry Truman was President of the United States, the federal minimum wage was a mere 40 cents per hour and first class postage was 3 cents. Over the last seven decades, the grandstands at the stadium have provided a sheltered place for countless fans to watch Sandpoint Bulldog football, men’s and women’s soccer, American Legion baseball, the Festival at Sandpoint concerts, junior tackle football and Sandpoint High School graduation.
“The last day for sports to take place on the field is September 17,” said Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton, who adds that construction on the new grandstands will begin on October 1.
According to Stapleton and Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Director, Kim Woodruff, crews will be working throughout the winter months to ensure that the City of Sandpoint reaches its deliverable date in June of next year in time for graduation ceremonies for the class of 2017.
With the new design, a gateway will welcome visitors into Barlow Stadium. Located just inside the gateway entrance will be a donor wall that will serve as a beautiful resting or gathering place.
“These will be built with the bricks purchased by, and engraved for, donors who contributed to the ‘Buy a Brick’ fundraising campaign carried out by the Friends of Memorial Field,” said Stapleton.
Following a competitive solicitation project for the gateway and grandstands, the City of Sandpoint awarded the construction contract to Northcon, Inc. out of Hayden.
“We are also just getting ready to release an RFP (Request for Proposal) for an owner’s agent who will oversee the project on behalf of the City,” said Stapleton.
Visitors to Barlow Stadium will experience grandstands that will seat 750 people and will be ADA accessible. “We anticipate more than 25,000 people will attend school and community athletic programs as well as local and regional cultural events such as the Festival at Sandpoint,” said Stapleton. “This has an annual economic impact on the community in excess of $2 million.”
After years of hard work and fundraising campaigns, the vision of new grandstands is finally coming to fruition. Surrounded by our beautiful water and mountains, Barlow Stadium is a treasure to behold and is now sure to continue for generations to come.