For the third straight year, Iola High Mustang football fans will be treated to improvements at the Riverside Park football stadium.
The changes, spearheaded by Donna Houser of the Iola PRIDE/CITF Committee, include new bleachers and a freshly power-washed and painted interior.
Houser will show off the latest upgrades from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Shell offer tours and a PowerPoint slide show, comparing how the stadium looks today to a few years back.
I think it looks gorgeous, Houser said. Theres a lot of things people hadnt noticed.
Most prominently among this years upgrades are the new bleachers, with seat-backs, for added comfort for the spectators.
At first, we thought we were only going to buy the bottoms and have the backs on the center section, Houser said. Then we found out we could get them cheaper if we had seat-backs in the whole thing.
Houser split the costs of the bleachers with USD 257, although most of the funding for the work has come from private donations.
She tallied up her receipts recently, and realized CITF/PRIDE has raised more than $173,000 since 2016, when the upgrades began.
And theres more to do.
We were really wanting to make the bathrooms more accessible for the handicapped, but we could never get a plumber scheduled because theyre all so busy, she said. So that will happen next year. We still have some money, but well need to raise more to do it right.
Housers husband, the late Ray Houser, was a longtime football coach for IHS.
Since 2015, she has helped coordinate efforts to:
* Improve water drainage inside the facility, including changing the home locker room entrance to prevent rainwater runoff from flooding the room;
* Put a new roof over the locker room and press box;
* Add a water drainage system and replacing restroom facilities in both locker rooms;
* Replace several windows and exterior light fixtures;
* Power-wash and seal the concrete surfaces outside the stadium,
* Repaint the interior, and
* Erect a donors wall to recognize those who have contributed to the project.
The school district, meanwhile, upgraded the stadiums electric system and installed LED lighting for a brighter, more energy-efficient interior.
A few other elements were added this year. Solar-powered light fixtures featuring the stadiums art deco motif, adorn the outside of the stadium; and a previously unknown window revealed after a sign honoring the donors was pulled from the wall was covered with cement board and the message Home of the Mustangs to greet visitors.
Once we get the restrooms done, I think thatll be it for me, Houser said.