Nothing was going to serve as a distraction for coach David Allie’s Grain Valley High School football team, as they wrapped up one of their first practice sessions of the summer.
But a few of his players did take a quick glance toward the home side of the stadium, where shiny new bleachers and a “real” press box were being constructed and installed.
It’s all part of the renovation at the high school, whose football team made a successful jump from the Missouri River Valley Conference to the Suburban Conference last season.
“I’m a little jealous,” quipped former Eagles defensive lineman Tristan Pfeiffer, who is playing football at Western Illinois University, but served as a volunteer coach and cheerleader for his former teammates during the weeklong practice session. “The bleachers look great. And Coach Allie is doing a great job with the guys. We’re just going to get bigger and better.”
While a construction crew was methodically putting the bleachers together, coach David Allie was running his team through a series of game scenarios.
“We’re all excited about the new bleachers and the new look of the stadium,” Allie said. “Almost makes you want to go out and play a real game – but we have some work to do before that happens.”
Overseeing the practice, and the construction, was Grain Valley activities director Brandon Hart, whose former stop, Fort Osage High School, has undergone the same changes on the sidelines – along with getting the first turf field in school history.
“We’re getting just about the same press box that Fort Osage got last year,” Hart said, “and boy, did we need it. Our old press box was so small that coaches had to film games from outside.
“The new press box is modular, just about like the one they have at Fort Osage. It’s got five rooms, and we’re going to have rooms for the coaches from each team and we’re adding a broadcast class this year and we’ll have students broadcast the game from the press box – we’re all excited about that.”
The new bleachers will accommodate 2,500 fans, with 250 reserved seat-back chairs.
“We’re not sure what we’ll do with the seat-back chairs,” Hart said, “but they will be for season ticket holders. We’re working with the booster club right now to see how to work that out.
“It’s just a great look for our stadium, and I think it puts on par with any other Suburban Conference team we might play. We’re just continuing to grow, and that’s exciting.”