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Lake Havasu City News
Lake Havasu City News
Lake Havasu City News
Lake Havasu City News

By Jayne Hanson

Lake Havasu High School officials announced Friday that the large-scale project is on track for completion and the official turn-over to the district is set for Wednesday.

“It will be a great venue to open our season in,” said Karl Thompson, LHHS head football coach. “The kids are really excited. They’ve seen the old one removed and now it’s a clean slate. Here we are, starting the season. It’s a good place to build school culture and get everyone in the community excited about it.”

An overview photo of the new field. At press time, the track has not been painted yet to the color it will be at completion. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The upgrades and expansions to the school’s track and football field include better directional LED lighting, water cannons to cool the turf, seating expanded to accommodate 3,000 spectators, upgraded restrooms, a new snack bar, increased parking spaces to at least 180 spaces, an improved sound system, and better press box, which is twice the previous size.

Coach Thompson, who has been at LHHS since the 1999-2000 school year, reflected on the magnitude of the project compared to the slow progress to improve the grounds during his coaching career there.

“I remember when three score boards were the major upgrade,” Thompson said. “This is night and day. In 2007-2008, there was a big push to talk about doing what we’ve done now.”

Brady Krueger, LHHS assistant principal and athletic director, said the major issue was safety for the students.

The old light poles used to be located on the field and were a safety issue for students. The new light poles are now located off of the field and are LED to save energy. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“The quality of the fields is much improved,” Krueger said. “Now we have a much safer and consistent playing field. There were safety issues before. There were eight light poles on the field that were right off the sidelines, they were a huge safety issue.”

Another issue was the track. The school simply was lacking a regulation track and students had to make their way to Thunderbolt Middle School for practice and competitions.

A photo of the track in March 2018 just before it was torn down. LHHS students had to use Thunderbolt track because the old one wasn’t safe for student athletes. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“It will help our total number of athletes,” said Dustin Zampogna, LHHS head track coach of the new track. “We always practice and compete at the middle school. This should allow for more athletes to participate in track. Before, we didn’t’ have a bus to get them over there.”

The school officials said on average there are about 480 kids who participate in sports and other programs at LHHS that will directly benefit from the new grounds. Roughly, those students include 100 in football, 80 for track, 80 in soccer (boys and girls teams combined), 65 for band, and 30 wrestlers, who use the area for conditioning.

The old bathrooms were located on the visitors side of the field. Now, the new bathrooms will be located on the “home” side near the parking lot entrance. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Furthermore, the additional new lower practice field will be utilized by students enrolled in physical education classes and for soccer practices. The measure helps protect fields for softball and baseball fields but also free up field space for the LHHS band to practice.

For now, the LHHS football team has been practicing on the baseball field, school officials said.

The LHHS scoreboard is the one original element that ties back to the previous field. The scoreboard has been recycled and incorporated into the mix at the new field.

Groundbreaking on the near $7 million project was April 2 of this year, however the project began in February. LHHS graduation in May was hosted at SARA Park. The new track and football field is scheduled to be turned over to Lake Havasu Unified School District Aug. 1, Krueger said.

The second phase of the bond-funded project is set for 2020. That project focuses on improving the adjacent baseball and softball fields.

The parking lot in March 2018. It has now been replaced with a new one. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The first home game to be played on the new football field is Aug. 31. It’s the Golden Shovel game, during which the LHHS Fighting Knights go head-to-head with the Mohave High School Thunderbirds, of Bullhead City, in order to defend the travelling trophy.

Coach Thompson said the very golden shovel at hand was used to break ground on the same day for both LHHS and MHS in the late 1960s. The schools have been vying for possession every season since.

The following photos are progression photos of demolition of field over the summer until just before completion. 

Groundbreaking ceremony at LHHS for the new field. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

A view of the field from the bleachers during demolition in April 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

A view of the old snackbar during demolition of the track and field in April 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The press box before it was torn down and replaced. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The new bleachers being assembled in May 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Campbell Redi-Mix is one of the local companies that worked on the new Lee Barnes Stadium over the summer. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The new press box being installed in June, 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The new ADA compliant ramp and the new snackbar/bathroom building is next to the new parking lot entrance. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Workers “sew” the field turf panels together in June. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Workers pull the field turf tight onto the dirt in June, 2018. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

A view of the field in June 2018. Core Construction oversaw the whole project. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Numbers being put installed in the 50 yard line in June. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Workers install the visitor side bleachers in June. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The lower practice field during construction. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The parking lot being worked on in June. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The inside of the snack bar that was painted in July. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The complete bleachers and ramp in July. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

A view from the press box overlooking the field in July. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The new parking lot close to completion in July. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Athletic director Brady Krueger and Danica Kitchel overlook the new field before the new track has been completed. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

For the latest news, photos, live videos, stories, and events around Lake Havasu City, check out our website at riverscenemagazine.com. You may also follow us on our social media: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook page.

 


3 Responses to “THE UNVEILING: ‘Golden Shovel’ Game Kicks Off Aug. 31 At New LHHS Football Field”

  1. Avatar Pamela says:

    You did a great job with the pictures Jillian !!! I’m so glad this improvement was made for our kids and community.

  2. Avatar Mariah garza says:

    Thank you guys so much for taking your time and effort into this amazing field for us lake Havasu knights to have our games on it looks so good I didn’t think it was going to turn out as good as it did it was a lot of work to who did it thank you so much for taking your time with every little piece of it and not rushing of getting it done you guys are amazing people keep up the hard amazing work

  3. Avatar Warren Alvord says:

    Awesome!!!!

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