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Walls to come down at Quintal Field stadium

A skid loader passes in front of Joe Quintal Field on Wednesday. Workers said the walls of the stadium are scheduled to come down today. (Laura Wehde/Republic)

Preparations for Joe Quintal stadium's demolition were started last week and walls are scheduled to come down today, and with Saturday's 63rd annual Corn Palace relays on site, Mitchell activities director Geoff Gross said spectators, athletes and coaches will all have to adjust for one season.

Spectators won't be able to watch the track and field event from any perched seating as usual, forcing the athletes and fans to all be on the playing field.

"We brought in temporary softball bleachers, and we're asking people to bring their lawn chairs," Gross said, adding, "We'll deal with it this year and see a lot of benefits down the road.

"At some point, someone would be inconvenienced, and we're willing to take the lumps for that this season."

Though, this year, not as many spectators will be watching the event.

Due to a switch in the Mitchell High School prom date, the event was moved up one week.

Usually, 25 teams attend the annual event, but because of the change in schedule, 15 will be in Mitchell Saturday.

"That's kind of a mixed blessing," Gross said.

For fans who will attend the meet, there will be two entrances, which will not include the regular main gate at Joe Quintal.

Gross said there will be gates on the east side of the stadium on Capital Street across from the high school and the other gate will be on the south side of the stadium in the Mitchell Technical Institute parking lot. Gross said that's the entrance he hopes the bulk of the people enter.

The temporary bleacher seating will also be on the south side of the field, which will force athletes to warm up in an alternate place instead of the infield, so they're not blocking the finish line on the north side of the track.

"This is a one-year inconvenience, but we'll have decades who benefit from it," Gross said.

Gross said there were no thoughts of pushing Joe Quintal Field's demolition start back until after the school's largest home track and field event.

"That would put us more behind schedule," he said. "They started demolition last week, pulling the guts out of the stadium out. There was nails and stuff all over. It would have put us another two weeks behind. It just wasn't really an option."

The Corn Palace relays are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday at Joe Quintal Field, and the last event is likely to start at about 5:25 p.m.