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Outdoor Events Center now “Spartan Stadium”

By B. Adam Burke
Solon Economist
SOLON– School board members and administrators didn’t have to look far for the official name of the structure that’s now formerly known as the Outdoor Events Center.
By unanimous vote, the throwback title “Spartan Stadium” will be used to denote Solon’s multi-million dollar field. The construction is still on schedule for the Spartan football team’s home opener, set for Friday, Aug. 24, versus Mount Vernon.
Board members last Monday approved some of the final policies on recognizing stadium donors, a usage policy for non-district events, a video surveillance system, and a name for the press box that reflects the desires of the Russ Gerdin family, the construction project’s largest donor.
Members of the Gerdin family expressed a desire to name the press box for legendary Solon coach Ed Hansen.
Activities director Keith McSweeney said he’d spoken to Hansen and Hansen was flattered by the honor.
The board agreed to the concept and asked administrators to finalize a design for the signage denoting the stadium and retired coach.
Board members also approved a stadium video surveillance system which will be tied into an existing system at the high school at a cost of $24,600. The stadium video system will put seven cameras on the multi-million dollar field. Two of the cameras will offer 180-degree panoramic views of the artificial turf field and bleachers.
The option of integrating the camera feeds onto one hard drive instead of keeping the stadium separate from the existing high school surveillance system would have saved almost $5,000 in up-front costs. But the consensus of the board was to upgrade so high school staff would be able to monitor one system to and see video from all cameras simultaneously.
School Superintendent Sam Miller called it a smart investment and said he’d like to install additional surveillance for Lakeview Elementary and eventually put a system in the middle school.
Most of Lakeview is covered, but there are no cameras at the middle school.
McSweeney presented a fundraising proposal to sell spaces in the parking lot behind Spartan Stadium. The lot will be used by the high school staff during school hours and on Friday night games will be cleared for season ticket holders in the lot.
He modeled the paid parking plan after one he saw in action at Regina High School in Iowa City, where Regal football fans snapped up some 40 prime parking spots last year. This year, Regina will sell even more prime spaces for home football games.
McSweeney proposed that the slots be sold for $100 each and the money be designated for stadium landscaping or upkeep. Twenty-five slots will be sold for Friday night home games at Spartan Stadium.
Board members also added six handicapped spots to the existing six in the lot with an eye toward re-evaluating the need for accessible parking next year.
In other board news, by state Department of Education order, all school business managers will change their titles to School Business Official. Solon’s SBO is Pat Moore.
The board approved a $62,300 bid for air conditioning in the middle school from Modern Piping.
Next month, the schools will put a small parcel of district land on the market following a public hearing. The land will be discussed on Aug. 20 before the regular school board meeting at 6 p.m.