Construction brings Barlow a true home field
Barlow High football fans will get a new experience when they show up for the season opener Friday, Sept. 6, against Bend.
A major part of the campus makeover at Barlow has been a campus football stadium that seats almost 2,000 fans with covered grand stands on the home side. A press box atop the stadium is equipped with 'coaches eye' video equipment and new stadium lighting surrounds the field. In addition a new field turf has been laid down complete with a center field logo and blue 'Barlow' end zones.
"It's always been an intimate setting, but this project makes it become very personal — it's state of the art," Barlow coach Terry Summerfield said.
Last fall, construction forced Barlow to host game nights at Gresham High's Stapleton Field. For a school that has a long history of playing off campus at Mt. Hood Community College, Summerfield is excited about having a true home field advantage.
"They kept the trees along the visitor's side, so that will keep all the sound right there — the place will be rocking," Summerfield said. "It means everything. We are playing in our backyard — it's home."
While Friday night football offers a massive meeting place for high school communities, the new facility will serve a mix of groups.
"This is also about soccer and track and PE classes and our youth clubs — it's a wonderful thing for our community," Summerfield said. "It's been a great effort with a lot of people who came together to make it happen. We are excited to get out on that field."
Finishing touches to the project have shifted Barlow's summer camps to off-campus sites, but the new facility is expected to be ready for teams in mid August.
In addition to the turf field and stadium, the track facility is also being updated with a new 8-lane track, along with throwing rings and jumping runways.
"You want to go see that new movie or purchase that new product," Barlow track coach Scott Jones said. "So I'm hoping we see an uptick in our participation numbers. A new facility like this creates a successful environment. It's an exciting time."
At Gresham High, the major change in the sports landscape is the summer groundbreaking to create a new gym. That meant some tear-down work as the school year came to a close with the scoreboard coming off the wall, and championship banners being folded into storage boxes.
"The nostalgia of being in this gym will be missed — there's a ton of history here," Gresham High Integrated Media teacher Brad Cook said.
The new facility with switch direction with the court running north and south with 10 available hoops, making it a prime spot for hosting events.
"We want to make it a state of the art place to host tournaments where the Gresham look can be displayed," recently graduated Gopher Connor Henkle said.
Both Cook and Henkle have worked on some floor designs for the new court.
"I've always liked being involved, and this is a way to leave my mark on the school, which is something not many people get the chance to do," Henkle said.
Cook played a big role in designing the turf field for Stapleton Field when it was replaced several years ago.
"It's incredibly important to give a voice to the people who have been here a long time and who are going to be using the facility," Cook said.
A revamped glassed-in weight room is set to overlook the court, along with a pair of 40-yard indoor running lanes.
The Gresham gym project is expected to take a couple years with the Gophers squeezing into their auxiliary gym (near the football stadium) in the meantime.
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