Burlington kicks off major renovation to historic stadium

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A multi-million dollar campaign is underway in Burlington, Iowa, to take the historical Bracewell Stadium into the 21st century.

Friday evening, the Purple and Grey Foundation kicked off the public phase of a fundraising effort to renovate Bracewell Stadium. Plans call for updated locker rooms, a synthetic turf field, a new lighting system, repaired retaining walls, and a new west-side entrance that includes a new press box, parking, and an ADA-accessible concession stand and restrooms.

"I think it's about time that we make it new and modern," said Burlington High School freshman Christian Davis.

Built in 1920, Bracewell Stadium originally featured a field made of yellow clay and rock. In 1929, Bracewell was the first stadium west of the Mississippi River to install lights for night games.

Friday, the stadium's history was well-remembered.

"I participated in football here, I had three sons that participated in football here, saw three sons graduate here... so it's got some memories," said campaign co-chair Jerry Sherwood. "Lot of memories."

Donors have already raised $4.1 million for the project, far surpassing the group's original fundraising goal of $3.56 million.

"It's overwhelming," said Sherwood.

The Purple and Grey Foundation now hopes to raise an additional $850,000 for Bracewell Stadium, so that they can include some additional elements that were still on the drawing board.

Construction on Phase I, which includes the west-side entrance, is expected to be completed by the 2014 sports season. Phase 2, which includes the turf, scoreboard, sound system, and locker rooms, should be done by the fall 2016 season.

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