ROCORI District Putting Finishing Touches On Amazing Renovated Stadium
ROCORI High School is putting the finishing touches on a major renovation of its multi-use stadium. After getting turf installed in 2020, the school is set to unveil Blattner Stadium in all its glory this fall.
The privately funded project was an idea that was floated around for a few years before coming to fruition quickly during the pandemic. The installation of the turf last autumn sparked a flame in the community and got the ball rolling for the stadium's current, massive overhaul.
"Most importantly, there is a community of supporters in the ROCORI area that want to see the facilities be something special for their kids," ROCORI Superintendent Brad Kelvington said. "When a community comes together to do things anything is possible."
Every element of the stadium will be different from the one the Spartans began the road to a state championship on in 2019. Even the entrance, which will now feature giant concrete arches supporting a sign that reads "Welcome to Blattner Stadium," looks completely different with a new ticket booth, new fencing and pavers purchased by family, friends and supporters of ROCORI athletics lining the way to the seating area.
A new video board will be installed, a new track has been put in place. It truly is a field of dreams for members of the ROCORI School District.
"It's important for me, my wife and cousins to be involved because frankly we were blessed with some things that have given us great fortune to be able to share with others," Dave Blattner of Blatter Company in Avon said. "Not just money but also talent and time that we can donate.
"We feel morally compelled to contribute to what (the district) is trying to do with the education of our youth," Blattner said. "One of our goals is to leverage positive energy with more positive energy to try to build out to other things, kids and activities."
On the home side of the field is a massive concrete seating area, a big new press box and a large concession stand that can be used for sports at the stadium and on the adjacent varsity softball field.
On the visitor's side is a new press box and the bleachers that were previously used on the home side of the field. Most striking is how the "old" bleachers look tiny when compared to the home seating area.
"Were told to dream big at first, so we decided we would love to have capacity to host (state and section tournaments), which is set at 4,000," John Young of the ROCORI Booster Club Board of Directors and Project Volunteer said. "I thought that might be doable but I had no idea it would be on this scale.
"It's remarkable, you don't really grasp it until you stand out here and look around," Young said.
"This is a centerpiece for the district, when you look at all these nice schools and now you add this stadium it just really completes the whole picture at ROCORI," Activities Director Joel Baumgarten said.
The AD notes that the stadium will be used for far more than just football. Lacrosse, soccer and track and field will all use the stadium extensively along with physical education classes and practices by many other teams, thanks to the turf.
"As a football coach it means a lot but I really don't look at it that way," Spartans football coach James Herberg said. "It's far bigger, I have four kids, three daughters and they probably won't play football but they might be out here playing softball early in the spring when the grass fields are wet or frozen.
"It's going to offer a lot of opportunities for a lot of different kids across the district, which makes me super excited," Herberg said.
The ROCORI soccer teams will host the first games in the stadium on the week of September 13th. The grand opening is set for Friday, September 17th when the ROCORI football team hosts the Apollo Eagles.