BOZEMAN — Right across the street from their old stomping grounds of Van Winkle Stadium, Bozeman High School is rapidly building a new home, a brand-new, multi-million dollar stadium complete with a turf field.
“It’s pretty awesome. In two weeks it has turned into a beautiful stadium,” said Bozeman athletic director Mark Ator.
Ator, who has begun his first year as the Bozeman AD after serving in the same position for years at Colstrip, knows this new facility is a step up for Bozeman athletics.
“It will be a tremendous upgrade to go from Van Winkle to here. I think our kids are going to benefit from it. It’ll be awesome when we get to come out on this field compared to what they’ve had at Van Winkle. It will be awesome and it’s going to be awesome both for the students here and for Gallatin High School,” said Ator.
The new stadium will be shared between both Bozeman and Gallatin High School once the new school is up and running next fall. It is equipped with new bleachers, a press box, locker rooms, concession and ticket booths, and more. But the construction team isn’t rushing the project to get players on the field.
“We’re not sure if it’s going to be the first (football) game, but we for sure know it’s not going to be the last game, either,” Ator said. “We want to make sure everything is good to go, safety will be a priority. We want to make sure the plumbing is good, both in the locker rooms and bathrooms, the sound system, we want to make sure everything is working so that when people come here for the first time they will be impressed and it will feel like home.”
And it’s not just a field for football. The yellow lines have already marked a territory for soccer games, and Ator says the facility will get some heavy use by the Bozeman marching band. He says there is one group to thank for making this possible.
“The one thing just to make sure is you take a look at this stadium to thank the community of Bozeman for supporting the bond issue to build this, the new high school, the updates to Bozeman High School,” said Ator. “Our facilities will serve our kids well for a long time. And we thank the voters in the district.”