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Parkston football stadium renovations completed

The final touches are being applied to the new stadium at Parkston High School on Wednesday afternoon. The stadium will host its first game as the Trojans take on Platte-Geddes at 7p.m. on Friday night. (Matt Gade / Republic)

PARKSTON -- The finishing touches were put on Parkston’s new football stadium this week as it awaits a game between the Parkston Trojans and Platte-Geddes Black Panthers tonight to usher in the new stadium.

Due to production issues from the bleacher company, the Trojans had to move their original home opener against Kimball/White Lake on Aug. 31 to Joe Quintal Field. However, the new 1,300-seat H.B. Garry Memorial Stadium will be unveiled at 7 p.m. today.

“As the project nears completion, we’ve got a lot of excitement around the building,” Parkston activities director Leslie Rylance said. “The kids and staff are excited, and the coaches are really excited to have a true home game.”

Rylance made renovating the stadium a priority when she arrived at Parkston five years ago, specifically to widen its track lanes to regulation 42 inches without the stadium being in the way -- painting the track is one of the final things left undone. She called updates to the track, “the main catalyst for the whole renovation project.”

A committee of community members designed the stadium, which includes updates to its press box, concession stands, restrooms and elevating its main bleachers, which holds 976 people. It also has overflow seating on each side of the main bleachers for 360 more seats.

“(Fans) will have better sight lines,” Parkston head football coach Eric Norden said. “It’s an elevated stadium now, so you’re going to be able to see things better. The walkways going up-and-down the stands are much wider, little bit sturdier. There’s more leg room just sitting in the stands.”

The elevated stadium also means teams won’t have to share one sideline during football games. Instead, the opposing team will move to the bleacher side, allowing coaches to walk between 25-yard lines rather than confined up to the 45-yard line on one side.

While the actual football field hasn’t been replaced, it did get a much-needed upgrade. The Trojans added a new drainage system around the entire football field, compared to past years when it had one drain for the entire field.

“One of the problems we had was after heavy rains the water would sit on the edges. It was just a mess,” Norden said. “Now, we just had that big rain a few weeks ago and the field was drained, it was dry, it was ready to go, where it maybe would have taken us 2-3 days to get it ready (in the past).”

Norden is also excited to have a true home-field advantage again, noting the benefits of not having to travel for home games and the comfortability of playing in Parkston.

“We’re really excited. It’s a great facility,” Norden said. “They’ve done a good job designing it to fit our needs. We’re just excited to play in front of our home fans again in such a nice brand-new facility.”