Lawrence High School’s athletic fields are still very much a construction site, but that won’t stop the Chesty Lions from kicking off their varsity football season in their new stadium Friday night against Shawnee Mission North.
First-year LHS principal Matt Brungardt said there’s a buzz among students and alumni about the new digs.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” he said. “The kids are excited. It started with the soccer game earlier in the week and it’s just building forward.”
But because of the continuing work, fans should know a few things before making their way to the game.
As for parking, the north lot is designated for LHS fans. Shawnee Mission North fans are asked to park in the new lot where the Lawrence Tennis Center used to be, just southwest of the school.
“Obviously, there will be some overflow of the Lawrence High fans,” Brungardt said.
The Lawrence Virtual School parking lot can also play host to fans.
Once you get a spot, there’s only one entrance to get to the field, and it’s on the southeast corner. From the north lot, a walkway will run on the west side of the Carl Knox Natatorium toward the entrance. The main path into the stadium will run south of the natatorium, around the track and over to the west bleachers.
“We’ll be seating both people from Lawrence High and Shawnee Mission North on the west side,” Brungardt said. The visitors’ seating, located on the east side of the field, has yet to be finished. “We’re hoping for the second home game, which will be week three of the season, we’ll have the visitors’ side open and the home side open.”
At the game
Once fans get settled into the new bleachers on the west side, all the regular football game amenities will be available.
Restroom trailers are on the southeast corner of the site near the entrance. Concessions will also be just off the entryway.
“We’ve put millings around, which is an asphalt and dirt base, so we’ll have designated walkways,” Brundargt said. “If you stay on the walkways, you shouldn’t fall in a muddy hole. Everywhere where we’re permitting fans should be done.”
Fans will notice that not everything is complete; the final details will take some time to finish.
“I think a year from now we’re going to have one of the nicest facilities in the state of Kansas,” Brungardt said. “It’s just going to be a matter of getting our permanent restrooms in and doing some things like that.”
After the fourth quarter
Once the game is finished, the school has a plan to get the fans out of the parking lots.
Law enforcement officers will be directing traffic after the game.
Cars in the north lot will only be able to go through the middle entrance of the parking lot. Fans can then go east or west on 19th Street, but Louisiana Street will be closed to traffic east of the school building.
Cars in the LHS Annex parking lot, just south of the school, will use the east exit and can only go south on Louisiana.
Traffic leaving the new parking lot where the tennis courts used to be can only head west on 21st Street.
Cars leaving the lot at the Lawrence Virtual School campus will not be directed.