At 51 years old, Federal Way Memorial Stadium is finally getting a makeover.
In March, Federal Way Public Schools announced plans to rebuild the stadium to its former glory. Now, the idea that once seemed far away is here. After groundbreaking and construction begins early next year, the goal is to open the new stadium in fall 2023.
Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer calls the stadium “the gem of the city.” The project budget has a $21 million price tag with a maximum cost of up to $24.5 million. Because the money is coming directly from the 2017 bond passed by the voters, the district feels a responsibility to “make sure everything is on time,” said Pfeiffer.
One of the goals of the new stadium is to bring more people and events to Federal Way.
“We are hoping it draws people into Federal Way so they can see what it is all about,” Pfeiffer said. Outside of athletics, Pfeiffer also alluded to graduation being held at the stadium, giving families a closer and easily accessible commencement ceremony.
There are going to be a plethora of changes brought to the stadium for players and fans alike.
Updated features include new locker rooms and two additional locker rooms. New grandstands, concession stands and bathrooms are also major portions of the plans.
For fans, one of the biggest differences will be the seating. Not only will there be an increase in capacity from 3,200 seats to 4,000 seats, but the beloved “home” side will relocate to the east side of the stadium, (which is currently the “away” side) flipping the current set up.
This allows access to a new parking lot. “For the gravel parking lot, it will have fresh pavement which will be better for our visiting spectators,” Peterson said.
The field turf, track and scoreboard will also be new and state of the art, according to Michael Swartz, executive director of capital projects for Federal Way Public Schools.
Another aspect of the new stadium is the ability to appropriately add security to the field. At the current state of the stadium, the entrance and sides of the grandstands are poorly lit which makes it difficult for maximum visibility.
“There will be better lighting and visibility for security. Jerry [Peterson] and his team have done a really good job at providing that information for ways we can better supervise these events,” said Swartz.
The design goal of the stadium is “to have clear way findings and a very good layout,” Pfeiffer said. Tim Ausink, project manager for Federal Way Public Schools, described the stadium having an open plaza area on both the home and away sides of the stadium. On the home side, the plaza will have field viewing ability, taking advantage of what is essentially a blank wall currently.
Because it was built in the 1970s, the stadium doesn’t use much up-to-date technology in regards to concessions or ticketing, but with the new stadium, a wave of tech is incoming.
“We want to make sure we incorporate all the latest technology to ticketing as well as sales. We are looking at what would be the best fit as far as programs to offer to the community,” Ausink said.
The project’s build team consists of BNBuilders, Inc. and McGranahan Architects. BNB also built the Kraken Ice Complex, which wasn’t the deciding factor, according to Ausink, but “that was one of the selling points.” The company has also built high school stadiums in Anacortes and White River.
The demolition is scheduled to begin in January and preparation for construction begin Monday, Nov. 28. For photo and video updates check fwps.org/memorialfield.