NEW MARTINSVILLE - Mother Nature's wrath was felt all over the Ohio Valley in late June when a damaging storm rolled through the area.
No area athletic facility was hit harder than Magnolia's Alumni Field, which saw its basically brand new press box crumbled due to the storm.
Because of the dedication of many, the pressbox is back up and scheduled to be open Friday when the Blue Eagles host Tyler Consolidated.
MAGNOLIA’S Alumni Field had its new pressbox installed this week and it’s expected to be open for the Blue Eagles’ game against Tyler Consolidated Friday night. The original pressbox was knocked over by a storm that came through the area in late June.
"It's a big relief off all of our shoulders," said Magnolia assistant principal Robb Bauer. "We've had a lot of questions about when it was coming and when it was going to be done, but that's understandable. The community wants the best for the kids. It's a shame that Mother Nature played the game with us that night."
There had been hope that the pressbox would have been completed in time for the Blue Eagles' first home game, which was last week against Williamstown.
"These kinds of things never go as quickly as you'd hope," Bauer said. "Having said that, for this project to be finished in the amount of time that it was, it's moved pretty quickly. It's just everyone coming together to help get it done."
After all of the hurdles and red tape were resolved with insurance claims and work permits, the holes for the steel beams were dug and those were installed last Tuesday.
The two-story pressbox arrived at Alumni Field this past Tuesday and volunteers and folks with AAA Homes went right to work on putting the two stories together.
"The beams were done in a day and we had hoped to do the buildings that day, too, but the crane they needed to use was booked," Bauer said. "The crane arrived (Tuesday) and they did the siding, electricity and built the steps up into it on Wednesday."
The new pressbox is nearly the same as the old one. The new one is slightly bigger in terms of the number of people it can hold.
River, which also plays its home games at Alumni Field for this season because of the construction around its high school, didn't have any coaches use headsets during its home opener against Fort Frye two weeks ago.
According to Bauer, Magnolia used two extra lifts and sent members of its coaching staff high above the action to communicate.
"Having this completed is going to be a huge help to everyone involved," Bauer said.
Bauer, who's worked hand-in-hand with River High principal Ed Trifinoff since the decision was made to move the Pilots' games, reported there's been absolutely no issues with the Pilots using the facility. The Pilots and Blue Eagles will square off there next week.
"There have been no issues with River," Bauer said. "Ed's been great to work with. He and I are probably in contact with each other once a week. It's great that people on both sides of the river can work so well together."
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