BROWNSBURG — When the Brownsburg football team faces McCutcheon at home Friday night, C.F. Roark Stadium will look a lot different than ever before.
“It is a complete facelift that was long overdue, and we can’t be thankful enough for the people who are providing it,” Brownsburg football coach Brett Comer said.
With a colorfully vibrant artificial turf and redesigned stands and press box, the new Bill Estes.com Field at the Indiana University Health Athletic Complex will be unveiled with the football team’s season opener.
With an increased seating capacity of nearly 6,000, and a more up-close view without a track circling the field, Comer wants to see a packed house.
“I really hope people who don’t normally come to the games because they’re afraid they can’t get a seat will come,” Comer said. “It’s a great place to watch a game. You are right on top of the field, especially on the home side.”
While finishing touches are still ongoing around the stadium, the field has been open for a couple of weeks, and Brownsburg players have had time to adjust.
“We think it could be a big advantage for us Friday night, that our kids will be used to that heat coming off the turf,” Comer said. “Last time I checked, McCutcheon plays on grass, and it’s a little different playing on a surface like this.”
On Tuesday, players were already preparing for the possible heat, to account for potential loss of fluids during the game.
“We have kids walking around with water bottles today, making sure they’re hydrated Friday night,” Comer said.
Senior quarterback Jacob Lambert said the players are fired up to take the field with fans and classmates in the stands.
“It’s just been a buildup and everyone’s excited,” Lambert said. “Just looking at it gets you pumped up, and everyone’s ready. It’s been on a lot of calendars for a long time. I’ve had a countdown on my phone since it was 180 days away.”
The field has seen its share of visitors during the last two weeks. Many former players under Comer have come by to check it out, and former Bulldogs coach and Indiana Football Hall of Fame inductee Mike Godan was there during practice Monday night.
The project wouldn’t have been possible without Bill Estes Automotive, which donated funds and agreed to a sponsorship deal to cover the new turf’s cost.
Seven years ago, Bill Estes started donating to Brownsburg programs and the subject of a stadium renovation came up. The economic crash of 2008, which severely hit the auto industry, put that conversation on hold for a while.
“The economy started coming back in 2010, and we started talking about it again,” Bill Estes General Manager Andy Wernsman said. “Now after all these years, our name’s on the field and press box, so it’s pretty cool.”
The auto dealer, which also works with most other Hendricks County high schools, saw the project as an opportunity to get its name out there while doing something substantial for Brownsburg’s youth.
“It’s a neat marketing idea, but it’s just good for the community and for the kids,” Wernsman said. “Also, it’s getting big-time use by the band and kids outside of football, so that’s great, too.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Danville Community High School will open its new turf field on Friday night. Its story will appear in Saturday’s edition of the Hendricks County Flyer.