The construction on Elliott Field and Don Beebe Stadium is expected to see big changes in the month of June, as the project stays on schedule despite the rainy season of late.
The steel beams supporting the new Con Marshall Press Box went up in late March, adding a vertical dimension to the concrete block ground-level structures which were built over the winter. Roofs, insulation and finishing masonry on the lower-level buildings have been added in April and May, along with some framing of the press box exterior, an enormous scoreboard container, and lots of excavation to prepare for the grandstands.
"We're holding schedule pretty well," said CSC Construction Project Coordinator Blair Brennan. "We lost a few days in certain areas, because of the rain, but nothing that's holding up progress. We had some issues getting some steel studs to line up square, but we got through that. We haven't held up anyone who was scheduled to be here to start a project. We'll just have to hustle to get dirt graded off. If we get a good dry weekend, and don't get a washout, they'll be out there grading early next week.
Electricians have installed conduit, plumbers have put in the waterworks, and heating and air equipment is currently arriving. The facilities will be connected to water and sewer in the next couple of weeks.
June will see the bleachers begin to take shape starting with beams and aluminum seats showing up. The field will be graded soon, and drains installed every 25 yards or so. In mid-June, rock is scheduled to begin filling the 8-inch bed that will be dug for the installation of the field turf. Brennan expects the scoreboard to arrive about the third week in June.
Another interesting development that will take place in June is the reintroduction of field lighting to Elliott Field. The move was approved at the April Nebraska State College System board meeting, in Peru, Nebraska.
"The next couple of weeks," said Brennan, "we'll start to see a little bit going on with the lighting from Musco Lighting. We've got the conduits run out. They'll start setting up the bases, and then the pole guys come in after that. There shouldn't be any dark places on the field. It's going to be top of the line, as with everything else."
At one point in the stadium's history, the field had been surrounded with lights for night games, however they were eliminated sometime in the 1970s, apparently because of concern about the integrity of
their supporting poles. The lights are expected to be in use during the season opener, September 1, against Black Hills State University. An exact kickoff time is not yet set.
As for the track facility piece of the sports complex, the board is scheduled to meet next month to approve the beginning of the design phase, according to Brennan. The current expectation is that the track facility will be located at the foot of "C Hill", on the south side of the Chicoine Center parking lot. The Sports Complex Initiative of The Chadron State Foundation's comprehensive Next Horizon Campaign continues to seek funding to complete both the stadium and track project as well as provide program funding and scholarship support at Chadron State.