By now, you’ve probably learned that Noblesville Schools has turned the first sod on a $14 million “community” stadium behind Noblesville High School.
And while I am always nostalgic about moving on from the old to the new, I can see all of the positives in building a new stadium.
In fact, after the ground-breaking ceremony, I talked to Noblesville Schools associate superintendent David Mundy, who gave me the skinny on the stadium plus caught me up to speed on a lot of good things happening in the district.
The current Beaver Materials Stadium was built in 1969 when Noblesville’s population was 12 percent of what it is today, he said.
“Part of the issue we were having with the old stadium, which is a fantastic stadium, we’ve outgrown it because of the number of people who come to our band competitions, that come to our football games, that come to track meets.”
That’s why the district is calling the new facility a “community” stadium. “We know that our football games, at our track events and our band contests, especially, we get a whole lot of people who come ... It’s not just a school event for us. We’re very fortunate in Noblesville that we get tons of people who come ... especially community members. When we were putting this together, we really had the community in mind, because we want our kids to enjoy it, our teachers to enjoy it, but we definitely want to keep our community members coming to all of our events.”
He said, “One of the issues we have at Beaver Materials Field is the lack of parking. And we don’t get to move as freely as we want to.”
Mundy turned toward the new stadium site to better describe it so I could “picture” the future complex.
“There will be a big open area for easier movement.” There will be enhanced LED lighting.”
He said, “We’re adding parking to both (north and south) ends (of the stadium). Where the parking will come into play is it will help us with both our parking problems we have at (Noblesville) East Middle School,” and at NHS because there are so many activities that take place. Plus, fans will have the advantage of also using the NHS and NEMS parking lots during stadium events. A tree-lined walkway will lead to NEMS to extend its parking, too.
Also, the new stadium will offer about 50 percent more seating: about 6,000 seats at the new stadium compared to 4,200 seats in the current stadium.
The stadium complex will also have space for the band program. “We wanted to get our band a place where they could have a normal practice, because our performing arts is thriving right now. Part of adding on out here is an area where our performing arts gets their own area that they can work from.”
The press box in the new stadium will be a little larger than the current pressbox.
The district will keep Beaver Materials Field at the Swanson Sports Complex to accommodate lacrosse, rugby, band competitions and more.
With two stadiums that are very viable, he said, “We could host big band competitions and we want to have many different activities where we’re utilizing both sites, since we’re fortunate to have two within this close vicinity of each other.”
Though, the new stadium would be the main stadium. The only negative about going to Beaver Materials Field from the high school is that it’s offsite and students have to cross a street that sometimes has a lot of traffic on it, he said. “So we won’t have to do that anymore. It’s kind of a safety issue for us to have it to be closer to where we want to be.”
The new stadium will be opened up to NHS’s physical education classes. “It will allow our PE classes to have access to these facilities as well,” he said. “So we can come outside and get easier over to our tennis courts … to do some activities on the (new) practice fields and use them for class.”
Noblesville Schools Community Center, which is under construction just west of the new stadium site and expected to be complete by January 2021, was put together “out of a couple different needs,” he said.
The $6 million Community Center, an extension of the high school, will house an alternative school program, and the district’s Limitless program that transitions ages 18- to-22-year-olds with special needs to the next phase of life, space for indoor team practice plus an area for adult night classes. The district has 60 to 80 students in the adult classes. “We want to keep growing that program,” Mundy said.
Most importantly about that building, he said, “There is one large room. “We want the community to be able to rent it out and use it whenever possible. If somebody would want to host a wedding reception, they could host it in there. There is a full kitchen facility that they’d be able to utilize. We want to have a place that the community can use but then we can use when we need to have a big group meeting,” he said.
“And its location right here by the stadium is going to be awesome,” chimed in Marnie Cooke, the district’s director of marketing and communications. “I’m itching to have a big spaghetti supper, then have everybody just walk out and go to a game … It’s going to be great just having it so close by because it definitely lends itself nicely to things we can combine with the center and the stadium.”
Cooke also stressed that “no referendum dollars are being spent on any of these projects, there is no increase to the tax rate of the impact of any of these things, everything is being funded through a bond, which is like a loan. That bond, per state law, can’t be used for other types of things.”
Mundy said the district is trying to create “one continuous complex,” from NEMS to NHS, over to where Noblesville Schools is building the solar field by the cross country field, to White River Elementary, all the way to the corner where the district’s storage facility is being developed.
“It’s one big campus that we’re trying to put together,” Mundy said.
Next to the new stadium site is a former Armory that the district owns, and that building will stay. A church property that the district owns on Field Drive across the street from NEMS, often used for NEMS overflow parking, is “no longer being used to the best of its ability,” Mundy said. “The church will come down at some point, and we’ll figure out our next step.”
A former market-turned-maintenance building, owned by the district and located just north of White River Elementary, was demolished recently and will be where Noblesville Schools’ new $1 million storage facility will be built. “That’s where we’ll hold things like extra desks we need.” Currently, these items are stored at the church property.
Currently, also happening is a ton of upgrading for current buildings, he said, such as roofs, HVACs, adding classes to the buildings we need to have to prepare for growth. There are also new construction additions at North Elementary and Noble Crossing.
Before Noblesville Schools designed the new stadium, Mundy said they visited a lot of other stadiums, including Westfield, Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern stadiums in Hamilton County. Plus they visited several stadiums out of the area.
“We kind of took what we thought was the best of each stadium,” Mundy said.
The district has been working on this project for the past 30 months or so. “We started off with ideas in mind,” said Mundy,
Noblesville Schools did a needs assessment about three years ago for the district, he said. “And it came out that this was one of things we need to really start taking a look at. So about two-and-a half years ago, we had a whole bunch of people come to a room, and we threw out ideas of what we wanted and needed. We definitely want some of the wants, but needs drive what we put together. And when we went and visited other places, it allowed us to see how they had done some of the needs. And then we narrowed it down from there.”
Cooke said the district has developed multiple types of sponsorship levels and opportunities, the largest being the naming rights for the stadium. Those interested in learning more about sponsorships are encouraged to contact Marnie Cooke or Noblesville Schools Education Foundation executive director Adriann Young.
Cooke said the sponsorships are “a great way to leave a legacy.”
“Sponsorships give ownership to many of the local businesses, too,” Mundy said. “We want lots of community names.”
New NHS athletic director Leah Wooldridge said about the new stadium, “I think it’s extremely exciting … It’s been a long time coming and I think it’s just going to build a lot of more excitement around not only for our football team, but track and band ... We’re all extremely excited to have this new stadium and finally get this done.”
Wooldridge said, “Can’t wait to start playing in here, hopefully do our first track season next spring.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at Betsy.Reason@gmaill.com