MIDDLEBURY — The new Northridge athletics complex is still on schedule to open in the fall, despite the coronavirus pandemic slowing down some of the work schedule.
A drone video released Friday by Carson Miller on Twitter shows turf has been placed on the new football field. Jeff Palmer, the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Middlebury Community Schools district, said the turfs for the baseball and softball fields should be placed by June.
“We hope to then, within the next month, have all the bleachers all finished up for football so they’ll be ready for that,” Palmer said. “And then, we’ll start to look at locker rooms; start having the health department out for inspections on the concession stand and stuff like that.”
Palmer said some of the contractors to work on the field came from Louisville and Cincinnati, which caused some delays as to whether or not they could come work in Indiana during the stay-at-home measures implemented by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The director also said good weather has helped them get ahead on the project.
“We’re pretty close; a little past halfway (to being done),” Palmer said. “With the weather breaking a little earlier this year, we were able to really get on some of the site work and a lot of the sidewalk and concrete work done ahead of time. That’s why you see a lot of concrete trucks coming in and out.”
Construction started on the July 16, 2019. The football stadium will have a seating capacity of 4,000, with 3,000 seats on the home side and 1,000 on the visiting side. New baseball and softball fields will sit adjacent to the football stadium. All three fields will have artificial turf. There will also be a new track installed around the football field as well.
Recently, the football, baseball and softball fields all sat at Northridge Middle School. This caused issues for the players getting ready for practice, as it’s about one-half mile from the high school to the middle school. The football team would practice on a large, grassy area next to the high school instead of walking to the football field. This new complex is next to the high school.
Interra Credit Union is paying the school $250,000 to use its name on the football field for the next five years. It will be called Interra Field when Northridge hosts South Bend Adams in the home opener on Aug. 21.
Northridge Athletic Director Dave Harms is excited to see the progress the complex has made.
“It’s hard to explain,” Harms said. “This is something that I’ve been looking forward to since I got here. Now, to have it come to reality, it’s just amazing. I can’t say enough about the school board, (Palmer), (superintendent) Jane (Allen), the whole administration … it’s pretty cool.”
Palmer hopes to have the complex ready before the current senior class leaves for college in the fall.
“We’re really excited about unveiling it to the public,” Palmer said. “Hopefully we’ll have something nice this summer to really showcase some of the spring sports and some of the athletes that didn’t get to participate in anything this year.”
Harms is happy to have something positive to focus on while the coronavirus pandemic has shut down the rest of the sports world.
“Right now, with the time we’re going through, it’s really exciting to have something positive happening,” Harms said. “It’s going to be quite a complex. I’m excited beyond words is the best way I could put it.”