M-CHS scales back its plans for new stadium

Sticker shock cuts $2M from budget

The new stadium at the new MCHS high school will have a 1,000 fan capacity. Some features, such as lighting and bathrooms, were cut from the budget, but could be installed in the future. Enlargephoto

The new stadium at the new MCHS high school will have a 1,000 fan capacity. Some features, such as lighting and bathrooms, were cut from the budget, but could be installed in the future.

The athletic complex for the new Montezuma-Cortez high school will be scaled back from original plans, school officials revealed Tuesday.

But the project will still feature a 1,000-capacity stadium, complete with a press box, ticket booth, and regulation turf-grass field for football and soccer.

The stadium will be surrounded by a competition track, and include ample space for track and field events, including javelin, high jump, and shot put.

“The stadium and competition fields will be a real centerpiece and allow us to host regional events. It will serve thousands of kids involved in sports,” said Re-1 Superintendent Alex Carter.

And as with most major projects, when the blurry view of estimated costs come into focus there is a sense of sticker shock. The budget for the athletic fields at the new high school was cut from $3.7 million to $1.7 million, Carter said.

“It is our toughest budget cut, almost half,” he said.

On the chopping block are stadium lights, stadium bathrooms, a field house, new locker rooms, a stationary concession stand, visitor bleachers, softball and baseball fields, and the tennis courts.

Students and fans will use school bathrooms during games.

No stadium lights means day games only, and it could create scheduling problems for soccer and football teams needing to use the fields for home games.

“We will be going to day games because of the lights being cut from the budget,” Carter said. “Day games will reduce the partying by students before the game.”

School board member Diane Fox warned that there could be push back from the community on eliminating night games under the lights, a high school tradition.

“We have a lighted stadium at the middle school, why not use that and add softball and baseball fields at the new high school?” she said.

Cortez city ball fields will suffice for school baseball and softball games, Carter said, and the middle school could still be used for night games by the high school if necessary.

Underground conduit will be installed if there is funding in the future for stadium lights, expected to cost $300,000.

“It will be a challenge to book soccer and football games on Saturdays,” Fox added.

A regulation size soccer practice field is still in the plans and could be used for competition events, officials said.

Ken Ronig, an associate with architect firm DPS, presented the revised plans.

“The stadium will be situated in a natural bowl on the property. It will be a really beautiful feature,” he said.

The track around the stadium will be top notch as well.

“It is an eight-lane, compound curve track. It is the latest in track design, and friendly on the feet,” Ronig said.

The $33.9 million school project is expected to be completed by fall of 2015.

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com