TALLMADGE — Around 100 area residents took the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the Tallmadge City School district's new Tallmadge Blue Devils Aug. 29 during an open house.
Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said the evening and the turnout "exceeded my expectations."
"I'm so excited," Ferguson said. "I still can't believe it's ours. I'm truly thankful the citizens trusted us with this task."
Board President Rick Kellar said he also was "grateful for the support our residents have given our children and young adults."
"They prioritize education both inside and out," Kellar said.
The athletic facilities on the high school campus include a 3,500-seat capacity stadium; an eight-lane track; a 7,500-square-foot field house with locker rooms, public restrooms and concessions; and on-site parking. The field has an Astroturf 3D3 field. The visitor bleachers and press box at Rossiaky Stadium, which is near the former middle school, were relocated to the new stadium, which is near the high school.
Funding for the new stadium and athletic facilities came from a 0.9-mill levy, which generates $7 million for the stadium and renovations. These facilities include a football/soccer stadium, practice fields and baseball and softball fields.
Eli Zander, a junior on the football team, said he was thrilled with the new stadium and facilities.
"We're extremely excited for it," Eli said. "It looks awesome. We're excited to have turf rather than being one of the only schools with grass."
The open house included a ceremonial gate opening at 6 p.m., a flag ceremony, the high school's marching band, photography of groups connected to the school, such as alumni, and raffles.
Mayor David G. Kline, who graduated from Tallmadge High School and played football, called the new sports facilities "an incredible asset for the community."
"I played in the old high school field, the Overdale field, I played football in the middle school field and I've now helped dedicate the new field," the mayor said. "I've seen three football fields."
Fire Chief Michael G. Passarelli said he appreciated the new facility from a safety standpoint.
"It's absolutely beautiful," Passarelli said. "It's a great, safe arena for the parents and kids, that's for sure."
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC