By Josh Peterson (August 22, 2013) - After being shut down more than a year ago due to safety concerns, Kennison Field in Hermiston will reopen Friday after a massive renovation project.Educators and parents say the new field and the new bleachers are a huge step up from what was there before, and administrators hope the newly renovated space will help bring more business to the city as well.
After nearly seven months of construction and hard work, Kennison Field at Hermiston High School is just about ready to reopen, and community members and parents say they can't wait.
"It's gorgeous. It's amazing" said Tiffany Tracy, parent.
"It's great. It's awesome" said Susan Widell, parent.
The Hermiston School Board closed the field in May 2012 due to safety concerns.
The track had cracks in it, and the bleachers were not compliant with safety standards.
But now, after a renovation project that cost about $5 million, the field is up to code, and it will reopen Friday.
"When we dreamed about this facility, we dreamed big, and we delivered of course on that promise" said Wade Smith, Hermiston School District Deputy Superintendent.
Administrators say the new field is state-of-the-art.
The turf is actually the same type of turf the Dallas Cowboys play on.
"What you see before you is what we believe the highest quality field, turf available on the market, artificial turf. We have an olympic qualifying track. We have a state-of-the-art sound system, a press box that's really unmatched in high school athletics in the state of Oregon" said Smith.
Administrators also hope the brand new field will help bring an economic boost to the area, as they want to make Hermiston an athletic hub for the region.
"We're looking forward to hosting hopefully state events, collegiate events, even semi-pro events here" said Smith.
Those who have been working on the project for the past few months say they're excited to finally start watching games on the new field, and they say they're proud to have played a role in something so substantial for the Hermiston community.
"We're just absolutely blessed to have something like this come into our community, so we're blessed" said Tracy.
The school district is holding a grand opening ceremony Friday at 6 PM.
$3.5 million of the project costs came from grants.
$1.3 million of the project costs came from donations throughout the community.
The school district did not use any taxpayer money to pay for the project.
[Reposted from KVEW TV]