Updated: 8/30/2013 6:30 P.M.
It's not that Parkersburg fans are unfamiliar with Don Drumm Stadium. But they're not used to being the home team, which is what they will be Saturday night when they face Warren High School there.
Parkersburg is renting the facility from Marietta College, while repairs continue to the Stadium Field bleachers.
"All the gate money that we take in for that game will come into Parkersburg High School," says Lori Lowers, Athletic Director. "So, while we anticipate we won't have quite the crowd we're used to, because people don't want to make that trip up there, we still have quite a few people who are going: season ticket holders, we've been selling tickets all week. So, we're very excited about this."
But even at Stadium Field, not every seat will be filled. that's because, at least for the first weeks of the team's home schedule, only the home side bleachers will be ready to be occupied.
That would mean a lower gate total, and less money coming into the athletic budget. The athletic coaches have responded to that, by trying to keep their costs down.
The Stadium Field committee, meantime, continues its push to raise money to keep the project going. an effort, it admits, that only went into full gear this month.
"That wasn't why the stadium committee was put together, to build a stadium," says Joe Weaver, Stadium committee member. "It was put together to maintain a stadium. So the fund-raising effort has come from the business people in the community, really hard, in the last three weeks."
While the team is getting ready to play Saturday night, workers will continue to pour concrete Saturday afternoon-as the next home date, September 20th approaches.
The goal is to open Stadium Field by September 20. It’s closer to becoming reality, but there's still more work to do.
“The main thing about football is playing at home and there's no place better than us playing at Stadium Field,” says Don Reeves, Parkersburg High School head football coach.
Football is in Kyle’s blood.
"I’ve been around this program for a really long time and knowing that we almost didn't get to play in the stadium this year was kind of heartbreaking to us,” says senior Kyle Foster.
The window for construction is going to be short; it's getting to the next phase that's the challenge.
"There’s not a lot of work left to do; there's a lot of big ticket items that cost a lot of money so this fundraising's really important,” says project manager Ryan Taylor.
But it's within reach.
"We’re so close it's like fourth down and two,” says Dr. Joe Weaver, former PHS all-state linebacker and member of the Stadium Field committee. “We just need to go forward and we need a couple thousand more dollars and we can get there."
Coach Reeves has fond memories of the stadium.
"I played back here in the 1970s, but the main thing for me it's about the seniors,” Reeves says. “We're probably going to have to play our first game away up at Marietta but I think we're gonna get our second game, which is against Capital here on September the 20th, which is great news for them."
Public support is urgently needed.
"It’s time to be a Big Red and stand up and dig into your pocket no matter how hard it is to bring us the money that we need to complete the stadium,’ Weaver says.
This big undertaking is in capable hands.
"The pressure's on and we're up to the task,” Taylor says. “We're gonna do everything in our power to make it happen; they went through all this effort to get all this money."
There's no better gift for his senior year.
"My opinion -- this is the best place to play a high school football game anywhere in the state of West Virginia,” Foster says. “Now that we're gonna get the opportunity to finish out our careers here, I think it's a great thing."
Athletes, students, teachers, parents and friends gathered at Stadium Field to learn they raised more than $150,000. They need $200,000 more over the next three weeks to open the doors.