NEW MANCHESTER - Excitement is in the air at Oak Glen High School as students, teachers and staff prepare for the first home football game at the new Multi-Sports Complex.
It's the kind of excitement that takes about 16 months to build.
"The stadium is ready to go," Principal Barbara Logue said. "We're hoping our first home game is a win, and we're looking for a big crowd."
Logue said tickets to the Golden Bears' home game against the Wellsville High School Tigers - $6 at the gate - are "selling like hotcakes."
Ticket-holders will get more than a game Friday because school officials are planning a dedication ceremony for 6:20 p.m., 40 minutes before the game.
Friday's home game coincides with the 50th anniversary of Oak Glen High School, Logue said, so the ceremony will be extra special.
"Everybody's eagerly awaiting this first night," said Athletic Director Phil Rujak.
A number of local dignitaries have been invited, including the six principals that have served Oak Glen - Russell Slack, Tom Salvati, Suzan Smith, George Danford, Wayne Neely and Logue.
The principals will do the coin toss.
Participating in the ribbon-cutting will be Student Council President Jennifer Mangano and Senior Class President Nathan Wright. Superintendent Suzan Smith and school board President Jerry Durante will cut the ribbon.
During the ceremony, all high school athletes who will use the stadium will be on the field; football, boys and girls soccer, cross country and track.
"We wanted to give the fans the idea that this is not just a football stadium," Logue said. "There's going to be a lot of kids using this field. That's why it's called a multi-sports complex."
A color guard from the Chester Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6450 will conduct the flag-raising ceremony.
Oak Glen alumna Hillary Sayre, now a student at West Liberty University, will sing the national anthem.
Also attending the ceremony will be Hancock County Commissioners Jeff Davis, Dan Greathouse and Mike Swartzmiller, Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, and school board members Durante, Laura Greathouse, John Manypenny, Patsy Brancazio and Toni Hinerman.
"There were a lot of stakeholders involved in getting this whole project done," Logue said.
Both the Oak Glen and Weir High School stadiums were made possible by a $37 million bond levy approved by Hancock County voters in November 2010. Officials broke ground on the Oak Glen complex in April 2011.
Coming with a $5.5 million price tag, the facility includes: seating for 3,000; a press box; a concession stand; restrooms; lighting; locker rooms; a scoreboard with animation capability; 25-second clocks in each end zone; ProGrass artificial turf; and a state-of-the-art public address system.
Logue said the natural surroundings and the school colors - white, Columbia blue, gold - add to the stadium's aesthetic appeal. "I don't know of any other team in West Virginia that has the colors that we have," she said.
The pre-game ceremony will culminate at 6:55 p.m. with the unveiling of the Oak Glen "Friday Night Chaos" video and the introduction of the Golden Bears football team.
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