Celebration of new Lisa Maloff Athletic Facility pushed back | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Celebration of new Lisa Maloff Athletic Facility pushed back

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Celebrating the shiny new Lisa Maloff Athletic Facility at George Whittell High School will have to wait a few weeks.

Construction on the $3 million facility, courtesy of the Lisa Maloff Foundation, is not complete forcing the dedication, and football season opener, to be pushed back into late September.

"They're in the final stages," said Phil Bryant, Whittell's athletic director. "They've got the track down, it just needs to be painted. That looks good. But the school is excited, the community is excited, and we're so appreciative of Lisa Maloff. It's a wonderful opportunity for our kids to be in a real high-quality facility."

The Warriors football and soccer teams are not allowed to use the facility until the project and final inspection is complete. A chain-link fence separates the school from the facility while Bison Construction of Carson City puts on the finishing touches.

The opening ceremony was planned to coincide with the Warriors football opener Friday, Aug. 31, against Mineral County. That game now will be played at Mineral, about two and a half hours and 140 miles away in Hawthorne, Nevada.

"When Phil said we weren't going to be able to host Mineral, I told him I didn't care," said Whittell first-year head coach Doug Patton. "I told him to just put us in a parking lot that's 100 yards and we'll play there."

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The Warriors will be on the road for their first three games, including the following week, Sept. 7, at Eureka and Sept. 14 at Tonopah. The last two trips will be over four hours each, one-way.

"The round trip to Mineral is about six hours and the two trips after that are both like 10-hour round trips, so we're gonna be spending a lot of time on the road," said Warriors senior quarterback Isaiah Womack. "That'll be team bonding, bus trips or overnight trips, it's always fun and makes the team closer. Or the team just fights. It'll be one or the other."

The first scheduled home game will be against Smith Valley on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. Bryant says that is when the school will dedicate the field.

The new facility is a complete remodel that includes an all-weather rubber track surface that circles a new grass field. A new concession stand has been constructed right above new aluminum bleachers secured into the hillside with concrete. A new irrigation system has also been installed to take care of the standing water that used to turn the track into a swamp.

It will be well over a year since the Warriors were able to host football games on their home field in Zephyr Cove. They played all their homes games last year at South Tahoe Middle School due to construction.

When the Warriors finally do run out onto Gary Lundergren Field, the entire facility will be up and running.

"We still have to get a sound system and work in the concession kitchen and then we'll be fully operational," Bryant said. "You don't wanna do a dedication and not be fully operational."