Taylor Stadium on the University of Jamestown’s campus is now Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium. This nearly $12 million renovation though doesn’t mean getting rid of the tradition of athletics in the city of Jamestown.
“It’s just such a big day for the community,” said University of Jamestown Head Football Coach Brian Mistro.
Fast forward 366 days, that dream is an almost completed reality.
“It’s just incredible to see what happens every single day. There’s always something new happening and it’s just amazing, it’s a dream come true. You kind of almost have to pinch yourself everyday that you come down here,” said University of Jamestown Athletic Director, Sean Johnson.
“I remember at the last home football game, we got out the gold shovels and we did the groundbreaking. It didn’t seem quite real then, but when the bulldozers started showing up and things started really happening, you knew it was real,” Johnson added.
The University of Jamestown Football and Track Facility looks nothing like it did one year ago. Not only is it no longer named Taylor Stadium, but there’s a new way for fans to take in both Jimmies and Jamestown High School athletics.
There is a new press box, the concrete seats are replaced with new steel bleachers. A new scoreboard is added to the south endzone. The new facility also includes only the second nine lane track in North Dakota.
“Next week we will actually be pouring track surface. This is going to be nine lanes. If you look at the track, if you go over here to the curb, over here where the track and the turf meet, to give you an idea of how much we excavated. This was actually lane eight at the old track and now this is lane one and lane eight is all the way over there,” said Johnson.
“The fact that we partner with the high school I think has really helped us make this a community project. It’s not just a University of Jamestown project or a Jamestown High School project, this is a Jamestown project. I think it really shows what our community is about because everybody has come together to make this dream a reality,” added Johnson.
There are changes at Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium every day.
“You see people during all times of day and night, on the weekend. They have their face pressed up against the chain linked fence looking in here just amazed. You’ll see people driving up to the other side, on the west side, looking down on the project. Everyday you just see streams of people,” said Johnson.
One of those people is Bob Richardson. He monitors the change from afar when coming to the field every morning. Richardson is 89-years-old, he’s a 1953 graduate from the University of Jamestown and was the former radio voice for both Blue Jays and Jimmies athletics.
“We had an outhouse on this side we had to broadcast from. So this is just so fantastic. Two years ago we had the mud field, where it rained and rained and rained and we couldn’t even tell the numbers on the uniforms,” said Richardson.
“This is the best facility in the state right now and with the track. We used to have a lot of track meets, we haven’t had a track meet for three years. It’ll be track central again,” Richardson added.
A vision of change has come to life on campus, but that change is inspiring a new chapter in Jamestown history.
“I think that’s very special. The history is never going to go away. It’s so important to the Blue Jays and the Jimmies, that’s always going to be a part of what we do. But to do it in the same classic setting with really everything new, it’s just the perfect combination,” said Johnson.
The final project is set to be done August 30th. The first game in the new facility will be Jamestown High School football on September 3rd, followed by the Jimmies playing September 11th.