By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
Tonight's football match-up between the Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bears and the East Fairmont High School Bees is expected to draw thousands of spectators to East-West Stadium.
And while those fans are sitting in the stands cheering on their favorite team, members of the East-West Stadium Committee hope many will notice the facility's recent renovations and become inspired to contribute to more improvements to be done in the future.
"The people who will be there are the ones who are using the stadium and have the most benefit to gain,” Nancy Bickerstaff, of the East-West Stadium Committee, said. “And it gives people an opportunity to donate and see where their money is going.”
Committee member Andy Neptune said a notification will come up on the stadium’s scoreboard about halfway through the second quarter of the game to let spectators know donations are about to be collected.
“We will have some cheerleaders along with some of the administrators from each school to pass a bucket around to the folks who want to contribute to East-West Stadium,” he said.
Anyone who donates $100 or more will get their name put on a plaque that is in the main entry way to the stadium, he added.
“We encourage everybody that has a memory of or uses the facility — from young to old alike — to give back to your community for future generations,” Bickerstaff said.
Over the years, Bickerstaff said several improvements have been made to the stadium. Recently, the streets surrounding the stadium were paved.
“The City of Fairmont paved the streets around East-West Stadium, and it made all the difference in the world to have smooth streets,” she said. “There are so many advancements that have been made.”
Bickerstaff said restoring the concrete and installing new seating in each of the stadium’s sections of bleachers is the current priority. So far, one section has been completed, and the money is in place to complete two more. Each section costs approximately $38,000.
After that, Bickerstaff said the committee will be working to replace the turf, which is estimated to cost about $500,000.
With the community’s help, progress has been made and will be able to continue.
“The Fairmont community has been a good supporter of East-West Stadium,” Neptune said. “There is a lot of use at that stadium from youth leagues all the way to folks who enjoy walking daily. We hope to see the support continue.”
And at 7:30 p.m. today, Neptune hopes to see the bleachers packed with football fans who want to give back.
“Traditionally it’s been such a great rivalry, so we look forward to a lot of folks being out,” Neptune said.
Email Kaylyn Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.