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Quintal '80 percent done'

Fred Kills His Enemies, of Wagner, works at the site of the new Kernel Stadium Friday afternoon. The new stadium is about 80 percent done, according to construction manager Mark Puetz. (Laura Wehde/Republic)

The new, improved Joe Quintal Stadium is about 80 percent done, project construction manger Mark Puetz said earlier this week.

And that makes Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves and Activities Director Geoff Gross rather happy.

The $2.9 million stadium that started in April is scheduled to be finished Sept. 2, which is one day before the Mitchell football team's first home game of the season against Brookings.

"You can only imagine a game right now, but it's a breath-taking view up there," Gross said, recalling a recent trip to the top of the stands. "The view of the facility is pretty incredible from up there."

Because of a rainy June, the project is a little behind schedule as of Thursday.

However, Puetz said it's nothing to be concerned about, and the Friday night lights will be turned on Sept. 3 with a fully-renovated stadium.

The thought of the first home game already has Graves excited.

"It's such a large structure, and to have it get this far in this amount of time would indicate we're going to be able to make it on time for that first game," he said. "It builds some excitement for the coming season."

Most of the main frame is built, which has taken the most time in the first four months.

In the next month and a half, Puetz said the underbelly of the stadium will be finished, including the locker rooms, concessions, restrooms and walkways.

Also on the to-do list for the contractors is laying some exterior concrete, installing the bleachers and railings, placing the large windows and doors and paving sidewalks around the outskirts of the structure.

One of the finishing touches that will complete the building process is installing the new visitor's bleachers on the south side of the field.

In late June, the Mitchell Board of Education approved an exclusive $154,000 beverage deal with Pepsi Cola of Mitchell to help pay for the visitor's seating.

"It's nice to see that they were able to get (the stadium) to the point where they really wanted to be at, which was to include visitor's seating," Puetz said. "That will help finish up the project nicely and give it the final finishing touches it needs to have to be a full-functioning, high-quality facility."

Having been by the stadium on a weekly and sometimes daily basis throughout the summer and building process, Gross said it's been rather interesting watching the resurgence of Joe Quintal.

More than once, he's been stopped to chat about the stadium's growth.

"Once in a while, someone will pass me in the hallway or the grocery store or a ballgame, and they'll say, 'I drove by the stadium today and, boy, it's impressive,' " Gross said. "That or maybe they haven't driven past it in a couple of weeks, and they'll say, 'Wow! I just can't believe how much they've got done.' "