A longtime sporting venue in Kenai will enjoy a re-dedication ceremony before kickoff at Saturday’s opening high school football game of the 2013 season at Kenai Central High.
Ed Hollier Field — named after the man who gave so much of his time to help the school district in its early years — received a fresh look over the summer as a new eight-lane track was installed along with a new artificial turf football and soccer field. The festivities begin one hour before the varsity game gets set to begin at 2 p.m. as Dale Sandahl will provide a history of the venue.
At the halftime break of the game against the Nikiski Bulldogs, an invitational mile race will be held — the first on the new track — along with a 10-minute soccer scrimmage, according to Kenai Central assistant principal Jim Beeson.
“It’s very appropriate that we’re playing Nikiski for the first game, because back then it was all one school, and a lot of them were North-roader oil people from Texas and that’s where the football kids came from,” Beeson said. “It’s a great community deal because of how involved the city was with us in getting the new field and track.”
In addition to the field and track, a new triple- and long-jump pit was installed with a high-jump complex nearby.
According to a recent press release from Kenai City Manager Rick Koch, the venue now “consists of a 100,854 square foot artificial turf combination soccer-football field covered with FieldTurf, a product used extensively in NFL and NCAA arenas.”
Beeson, the Kardinals head football coach for 19 years, said he is extremely proud of the effort and fundraising that took place that helped with the aging track and field.
“Hopefully we get a lot of people out because it’s truly a community deal,” Beeson said. “The community has been involved in us getting this field. The city put in $150,000 and Rick Koch managed the project at no cost.”
According to the press release, the State of Alaska provided approximately $2.3 million to fund the project.
Hollier, an original member of the Kenai school board from its formation in 1964 to when he stepped down in 1975, essentially founded the Kenai football team in 1968, and played a role in the initial building of the playing field.
“They used to play out in Wildwood, and the booster club helped things along,” Beeson described. “It’s not always about football, it’s also about soccer on the turf and the track. I’m very biased, but I think our track is now the best facility in the state. With the quality and the way it’s put together, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better track around. It’s really a first-class deal.”