Federal Way Memorial Stadium awaits several much-needed upgrades


The Mirror

The year was 1971, and a first-class stamp in the United States cost 6 cents, a gallon of gas cost 35 cents and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” swept the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

The Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl V, and the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Baltimore Orioles in game seven of the World Series.

It was also the year that a brand-spanking new Federal Way Memorial Stadium opened its doors. The football/soccer field on the campus of Federal Way High School was a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to seat over 3,000 fans.

But not much has changed at the field that has hosted thousands of games during its 36 years of existence.

That is until now. Thanks to the passage of the massive $149 million construction bond last month by Federal Way voters, Memorial Stadium will receive a lot of much-needed improvements over the next couple of years.

“I guess we are coming out of the ‘70s,” said Federal Way School District’s athletic liaison Greg Flynn, who runs Federal Way Memorial Stadium. “I’m going to have to take my clothes back.”

The improvements will include earthquake reinforcement, replacement of the current artificial turf and track surface, paving of the facility’s parking lot and the installation of new lighting.

The new synthetic playing surface will be the most welcome change at the stadium, at least for the athletes playing on the field. The surface will be a much softer, grass-like material that is used at all of the other high school stadiums around the South Puget Sound League, as well as places like Husky Stadium and Qwest Field.

“The current turf is 12 years old and no one even makes this stuff anymore,” Flynn said. “It’s old and hard and feels just like your basement rug.”

The new surface will also make it easier on the numerous soccer teams that use Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The current Astro-Turf is a lot bouncier and faster and doesn’t allow for much touch to be placed on passes. The new synthetic material will play much more like grass.

The scoreboard for the 1971 stadium, however, was not designated for replacement but is showing its age, Flynn said.

But the district is hoping to replace the outdated scoreboard with help from the business community in Federal Way. The new school district policy, which went into effect late last year, allowing the sale of advertising to promote academics, athletics and activities has prompted Flynn to seek contributors for a new scoreboard.

“We are going to be upgrading everything except the scoreboard,” he said. “So I figured, what the heck, let’s try to get a new scoreboard. And the only way we are going to be able to get one is to get some businesses to kick in some money. They can have their name in lights.”

The new wireless, LED scoreboard would feature a message center and advertising panels for sponsors. The two top panels will be 6-feet by 4-feet and cost $10,000 each for a five-year display. The five bottom panels are 5’x2 1/2’ and sell for $5,000 each for the five-year term, Flynn said.

The money raised from the sponsorships would cover the $40,000 price tag associated with the new scoreboard.

“It would be quite an upgrade,” Flynn said.

Federal Way Memorial Stadium won’t be the only athletic facility benefiting from the passage of the district’s construction bond last month. Decatur High School will be getting a new track surface on its campus and Thomas Jefferson’s practice football/soccer field will also have synthetic turf installed.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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