BOZEMAN - The long wait is finally over, Bozeman High School is playing their first game inside their new stadium Friday evening as the football team battles Great Falls High.
“(I’m) truly excited, finally get this thing open and get some people in here and get the kids on the field playing a football game," said Bozeman Athletic Director, Mark Ator.
More than anything, the Bozeman students have been itching to finally get a chance to play inside their new home.
“The athletes are truly excited. They were excited just a couple of weeks ago, when they got to practice on it. And I think (Friday) night it’ll be a celebration,” Ator said.
Ator, who is in his first year as the Bozeman AD, has been involved in the construction since Jul 8 and has been overseeing the final touches before gameday.
The new Van Winkle Stadium is a massive upgrade from the old stomping grounds across the street. They have a brand new turf field, a Daktronics scoreboard with personalized Bozeman graphics, locker rooms equipped with private bathrooms and showers, and a new seven-room press box with state of the art equipment and a cleaner sound system.
For the fan experience, the stadium boasts two concessions stands at each main entrance with new cooking equipment and stainless steel appliances. Finally, they have four new bathrooms under the home-side bleachers.
So what’s new in the new Van Winkle Stadium. First thing you notice is the turf field and an upgraded Daktronics scoreboard. But here’s some things you don’t see, here is a look inside the team locker rooms, equipped with personal bathrooms and showers.
The price tag of the new Van Winkle Stadium is roughly $7 million, which was part of Bozeman's greater infrastructure plan passed by the taxpayers, but the district knows this is a great investment.
“For the cost, you got a great facility, Bozeman," said Ator. "One that will last for a long time that you can be proud of.”