By Gregg Jones
Union Missourian Editor
The Union High School stadium project is nearing completion, but not without the help of major donations.
Union Athletic and Facilities Director Chris Arand said work at Stierberger Stadium is expected to soon be complete, if the weather holds up.
He said that a major donation by Sandy Stierberger funded signs, the entrance, ticket booths, fencing and the concrete in the entrance area.
Superintendent Steve Bryant said Stierberger’s contribution, and the businesses that made commitments, made the project possible.
Businesses contributed by purchasing an advertisement that will be embedded on the perimeter of the new turf field for the next eight years.
“I’m very pleased that folks in the community are helping make this possible,” he said. “It’s great for our kids.”
Bryant added that sponsorships will help youth for years to come.
“We’re talking long term, and not just the athletes,” he said, “it’s band kids and other youth programs.”
There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Friday, Aug. 30, to mark the grand opening of the stadium.
“It’s a really great addition for our community,” Bryant added. “It’s made possible by those who help out with funding.”
He said there are more turf ads still to be sold. Once that is complete, there may be an opportunity for smaller ads, or other donations to be made.
Other than the Stierberger donation, there were several businesses that made major contributions to the project.
They are: Boco Electric, Great 8 Cinema, Heritage Bank, Bank of Sullivan, United Bank of Union, Taco Bell/Pepsi, Mercy, Mike Bunch/Shelter Insurance, Union Junior Football League, Union Wildcat Athletic Booster Club, Union Band Boosters, Pasta House and the UHS Athletic Department.
The scope of the project includes a new track, turf football field, visitor bleachers, stadium renovations, interior fencing and an expanded high jump.
Arand said the next step is to install the regulation, 400-meter track around the football field, and that requires several days of near perfect weather in order to lay a rubber-type material.
“The next step is the most important one,” he said. “They lay 100 meters, then let that set for a day. Then they lay another 100 meters and let that set.”
The track is a regulation 400 meters of track to be laid.
“It’s quite a process to get that layer down,” Arand said. “It’s a long process and they have to have near perfect weather.”
Once that layer is installed, there are two coats of paint sprayed on the track, and then the lanes are striped.
“We don’t have any home games next week, so they will be able to work on the track,” he said.
The ticket booth by the school’s main entrance is expected to be complete this week, according to Arand.
“The stadium is awesome — we had our first home soccer games here last week,” Arand said. “It is so nice to have soccer here and not at the middle school.
“I am excited about it,” he added. “It is really nice place to be.”
There was a black vinyl chain-link fence erected around the track to keep people from walking across it.
The visitor bleachers now seat 500 people and were installed with a concrete sidewalk in front.
Sod was removed from the football field 400 loads of topsoil were excavated to be used at the district’s other buildings.
The new turf field has logos in the center and end zones, and is lined for both football and soccer. The field also contains a state-of-the-art drainage system that can drain 27 inches of water per hour.
The long jump and pole vault areas also were redone to make a flatter, even surface.
On the stadium side, the entrance opened to create a 20-foot-wide entryway that prevents bottlenecks of traffic at the games.
There is a wall built inside that will be at a sitting height.
There also is a patio area near the concession stand where fans can watch games while they eat.
Stierberger Stadium also got a facelift to the facility itself, with new tuckpointing and concrete work where needed, especially under the facility where there has been some flooding in the past.
In the press box, there was painting and new carpet will soon be added, Arand said.