The new multisport stadium on the campus of Althoff Catholic High School will see its first action Friday when the Crusaders take on the Centralia Orphans in South Seven Conference football.
School officials said last week they had hoped the stadium would be ready to go, but at that point they were still awaiting delivery of the press box and the installation of fencing.
The stadium’s official christening will still be Oct. 6, when the football team plays Carbondale. A construction contract stipulated a Sept. 29 deadline.
“There won’t be any pomp and circumstance Friday,” said Jenn Lyke, Althoff’s director of advancement. “We’ll have some commemorative T-shirts, but the official dedication will still be held Oct. 6.”
Details of those ceremonies have not been released beyond their 6 p.m. start time.
The Crusaders’ boys soccer team, meanwhile, will get a chance to play in the new facility Sept. 29 against Rock Island.
The FieldTurf playing surface is fully installed, with navy end zones displaying the words “Althoff” and “Crusaders” in 20-foot gold letters. The school’s logo stretches between 40-yard lines at the center of the field, which is lined for both football and soccer.
The new stadium, which is located behind the school, will bring varsity football to the Althoff campus for the first time in the school’s history.
The Crusaders previously shared old Township Stadium with Belleville East and West on the campus of what is now Lindenwood University-Belleville. The construction of the new West campus on Frank Scott Parkway and related capital improvements at East included new stadiums at both of the city’s public high schools. Althoff continued to play on Lindenwood’s red-and-gray-striped field.
In April 2016, Althoff announced its capital campaign to fund Phase I of campus improvements. Phase I cost $2.4 million and includes the stadium surface, track, bleachers and press box.
Phase II will include a permanent concession stand and restroom facilities. Portable toilets will be used in the short term, Harris said. Phase III will include additional facilities for baseball and softball.
Althoff principal Dave Harris has said the timing of additional phases will depend on the ongoing fundraising efforts.