LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A $2.5 million overhaul of Bates College's football field is nearing completion. A state of the art synthetic playing surface, a lighting system and new grandstand are part of the major reconstruction project.
"We looked at building not just a field that would be a state of the art football facility from a recruiting and playing standpoint, but also a multi-purpose field," explained athletic director Kevin McHugh.
"There is certainly the public service aspect of it, there is also a recruiting aspect that we wouldn't deny either," added McHugh. "If we can have other constituencies using this and seeing Bates and seeing the facilities that we have it certainly helps us from that aspect as well, too."
The first interscholastic football game in Maine was played at Bates in 1875 on a nearby part of campus. The first game at Garcelon Field was held in 1899.
"That was one of the things that was a consideration of the location, was the history and tradition that obviously exists with that going all of the way back there, so we wanted to be able to preserve that," said McHugh.
The new turf field will host its first practice on Tuesday of next week, with the new light poles being set next week as well. Construction crews hope to have the work completed in time for Bates' football home opener on October 9th. The dedication ceremony will start at 12:45 with kick-off of the game versus William's College at 1pm.
You can find a clip about the history of Garcelon Field, the 9th oldest collegiate football field still in use in the U.S., by clicking here.