The new Riverview Health Stadium at Westfield High School. The Times photo by Betsy Reason
The new Riverview Health Stadium at Westfield High School. The Times photo by Betsy Reason
WESTFIELD - Just drive by the new Riverview Health football stadium at Westfield High School. It's impressive, for sure.

Who wouldn't love a new football stadium for their kids to play sports? Their cheerleaders to cheer? And their families to watch the home team score.

The stadium, which had its ribbon-cutting on the first night of high school football season, is being called by school officials as "amazing," "beautiful" and magnificent."

Bill Davis, Westfield Schools' athletic director, said, "It won't win games for you, but it definitely will create an atmosphere where the kids are going to play extremely hard, and that's what we ask them to do."

Davis said, "The community came together and made this happen...We were at a point where we needed it. And it turned out fabulous. And we're thankful we have a community that supports it."

Westfield Schools Superintendent Mark Keen stood in the plush, new press box, proudly looking out over the field at Westfield's first home game. "This facility is open, and it's paid off. And there aren't many stadiums that can say that," Keen said.

The stadium seats 5,000 people: 3,500 on the home side and 1,500 on the away side. "We could add more on. But except when Noblesville or Zionsville come over, it's not going to be over capacity." Westfield will play away this Friday at Zionsville, and the Shamrocks will be back home again on Sept. 11 to host the Noblesville Millers.

The stadium cost $7.5 million, with $2.5 million coming from the City of Westfield and $2 million from a sponsorship with Riverview Health. Riverview bought the old high school stadium with plans to demolish it and use the property for development. In the total, the Estridge Family Foundation donated an electronic scoreboard that cost more than $350,000, Keen said.

He said the stadium calendar is already jam packed. "This has always been called the Westfield Community Fields, because there will be over 300 events on these field during the year. I'm just excited that it's now open and people are here."

The three-level press box is impressive, indeed. The first level features three windowed areas with counter space for press overlooking the football field, plus a large conference-room area for meetings, men's and women's restrooms and plenty of space to move around. The second level has a nearly identical floor plan, with invited guests sitting at bar-height tables overlooking the field. On the third level, which is open-air, invited press and guests get a birds-eye view of the field from the roof.

"I like the press box. When you walk out the back side, you realize how high up you are. It gives the coaches from both teams a chance to see what's going on with their teams, to call down with corrections. Band people like it because they can see their band marching down there, and make corrections. We can hold meetings in here, and it's going to be rented out," he said.

Westfield High School principal Stacy McGuire, who cut the ribbon on the new facility on opening night, said, "I am a Westfield graduate, as in my father, as is my grandmother... I think back about my dad playing on the football field, that we closed last year, in 1948-49, and me watching the Class of 1989 win a sectional championship on that field. To get to this point, there are so many things about Westfield that I don't recognize. But all of those important things about Westfield, I absolutely see every day. It's us coming together, it's us investing in our kids, it's us taking pride in our community and the things that we want to do. And that's exactly what brought us here today..."

McGuire said, "Our kids have the talent and the potential to absolutely soar and thrive in the right environment. And we really believe that this is one of those last pieces to give our kids, to invest in our kids, to make sure they can soar and thrive in that right environment."