ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It cost Albuquerque Public Schools around $38 million to build the west side stadium which has now been open for a year. So is the sports complex living up to APS’ expectation and what are the plans for the future?
APS says more than 70 football games have already been played at the stadium and the district is planning to open the track up for competition this school year.
They say the investment is paying off, and then some.
No matter who you ask at APS’ Community Stadium, it seems everyone has something good to say about the district’s new Friday night destination.
“It’s beautiful, it’s convenient, roomy,” said Debbie Encinias, a parent with students at Volcano Vista High School.
“We have a great place to play,” said Justin Lotz, a student at Volcano Vista High School.
The football stadium portion of APS’ planned sports complex has now been open for a year. After hosting more than 70 youth league, middle school and high school football games, APS’ acting superintendent Brad Winter calls the stadium a success.
“Its just exceeded all of my expectations,” said Winter.
Winter worked on the project with APS since it was first conceptualized around 2010.
“I think if you looked at stadiums around the Southwest that this is one of the prime stadiums in the whole Southwest United States,” said Winter.
Community Stadium is the first APS has built in about 50 years. The district says it hasn’t run into any problems since opening it besides how to use some of the new technology like solar panels and the cell phone controlled lighting system.
“It’s like moving into a new house you have to learn where all the light switches are and those types of thing,” said Kenny Barreras, APS’ Director of Athletics.
Come spring, Barreras says APS will open up the next door track and field portion of the complex for its first 11 meets.
But APS says that’s just the half of it. There’s more open land on the entire property that APS wanted to develop for more sports fields. The district says it will likely ask voters for bond money in 2016 to build those fields.
“We’re going to put baseball fields and softball fields out there as well as tennis courts,” said Winter.
Winter says those fields could start building or be completed sometime in the next three to four years.
The Ciity of Albuquerque also wants to put soccer fields on 81 acres of property next door in about the same time.
“We’re going to have 200 acres of sports and recreation facility on the west side so that’s something that’s very unique,” said Winter.
You might remember the original design for Community Stadium which had awnings over the stands to protect fans from the sun and rain. That got scaled back because of the cost and APS says right now, there are no plans to add them in the future.
Next up, Winter says APS wants to pour lots of money into fixing up the other two stadiums it owns. Wilson Stadium is 51 years old and Milne Stadium is 75 years old.