EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College department of athletics began a two-part process to renovate Pete FioRito Stadium at McKinzie Field, according to an announcement from Eureka Director of Athletics Paul Bryant. Construction crews broke ground Monday morning on the project at the football facility that will include a permanent brick wall along Reagan Drive at the north boundary of the stadium and will be completed by Eureka's home opener scheduled for Sept. 17.
"Thanks to some tireless and generous fundraising, I'm happy to announce McKinzie Field will get a much-deserved facelift," Bryant said. "Along with the addition of new scoreboards and a new playing surface inside the Reagan Center for volleyball and basketball, I'm very pleased with the improvements at our athletics facility over the previous 12 months."
The first phase of "The McKinzie Project" will include the construction of a 4-foot-tall permanent brick wall that will run along Reagan Drive at the north boundary of the facility. The length of the wall will match the length of the previous chain-link fence and will wrap around the outer corners of the north end of the stadium to create an enclosed look.
With the digging for the brick wall expected to continue throughout the week, construction crews will begin pouring the brick wall this Friday. Once the construction of the wall is completed, the wall will be painted maroon with "McKinzie Field" lettering in vegas gold coloring fastened to the wall.
On the south end of the stadium behind the scoreboard, the existing 4-foot fence will be replaced with the 6-foot chain-link fence previously used along Reagan Drive. Once installed, a wind screen will be placed along the south fence. This part of the project is expected to begin on Monday, Aug. 15.
The east boundary of the facility behind the visitors' sideline will also receive a new 4-foot chain-link fence that will be covered by a windscreen with the text "Home of the Red Devils" facing the playing field. The two sections of visiting bleachers will be moved together at the 50-yard line to be consistent with the home bleachers. Five flag poles will be installed behind the visiting bleachers along the east boundary of the stadium. The middle pole will showcase a Eureka logo with the four surrounding poles honoring Eureka's teams from the 1977, 1991, 1994 and 1995 seasons. This portion of the project is expected to begin Monday, Aug. 22.
The first phase of the renovations is expected to be completed in its entirely by Friday, Sept. 2. Details of the second phase of the project are yet to be announced. The new brick wall will be dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 1 in conjunction with Eureka's Homecoming festivities when the Red Devils host Westminster at 1 p.m.
Fans are invited to follow the process of the renovation by visiting "The McKinzie Project" photo album on Eureka's official athletics Facebook page, facebook.com/eurekareddevils.
The Red Devils will open the home portion of their 2011 season on Saturday, Sept. 17 in a 1 p.m. Upper Midwest Athletic Conference kickoff against Crown.