Aug 31, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterWhen fans enter Wolverine Field for Riverton's first home football game of the season Friday night, Fremont County School District 25 Superintendent Terry Snyder said he hopes they are able to focus on the field -- not the condition of their seats.
"The whole objective behind the stadium (upgrades) was to bring the community together," Snyder said. "The common focus is on the kids, not the facilities."
Two attempts to pay for stadium improvements through tax increase have been rejected by voters, so in recent years FCSD 25 has used more than $600,000 of general fund reserve money to make incremental upgrades to the track and field at Riverton High School. The defeated ballot measures had called for stadium upgrades in the $3 million range.
"I hope we've been able to do it conservatively as far as finances go and still have a nice stadium and field that our community can be proud of," Snyder said.
More bleachers have been added to the stadium this summer, including seats for visitors on the east side of the field and more comfortable accommodations for all attendees.
"The feedback we got from the community was that knee room was very tight, and the seats weren't very comfortable; they didn't have backs," Snyder said. "So we added additional leg room and are adding backs to our seating."
On the home side, the center section of bleachers has been equipped with molded backs and arm rests -- "a true stadium seat" according to Snyder, who said the premium spots won't cost any extra money for now. Admission to RHS games is free.
"We just wanted a comfortable stadium for our fans," he said. "We want them to be comfortable and enjoy the game."
He pointed out that the spaces between the bleachers steps have been filled in as well, both for safety and ease of clean-up. And spacing has been modified to allow people to see over the heads of fans in front of them.
As for the double-R design emblazoned on the bleachers, Snyder welcomed any ribbing from people at the game.
"As long as they come, I'm happy," Snyder laughed. "Even if they come just to give me a hard time."
The "RR" has raised speculation from residents about what the letters could stand for, from "Riverton Red" to "Retire in Riverton." Snyder explained that, when choosing the design for the stadium seats, administrators thought that one, large "R" looked asymmetrical and was difficult to read, so they went with two smaller letters instead.
Concessions, restrooms coming
The permanent restrooms and concessions stand built this summer will not be ready for Friday, but Snyder said the new amenities will be available by the Sept. 21 home game. This week, fans can purchase food and drink from a temporary trailer, and portable restrooms will be available in addition to the facilities inside nearby school buildings.
When it is finished, Snyder said the concessions stand will include a Wolverine-themed concrete seating area equipped with picnic benches where families can enjoy their food while watching the game.
"We've already purchased five round picnic tables for people to sit out," Snyder said. "We think we can make the area look very attractive."
Other plans for the future include enclosing the bottom of the stadium so the area underneath the seats can be used for storage. Snyder said he also would like to install a second press box on the visitor's side that coaches can use to film the game.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.