Sunday, July 14, 2024

Mendenhall Stadium remodel is a community affair

by EMILY BONSANT / Staff Writer
| April 25, 2024 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — A new grandstand has been built at the Mendenhall Stadium on the Bonners Ferry High School and Boundary County Middle School campus thanks, in part, due to community donations. 

It is thought that the previous bleachers had been constructed by the Idaho National Guard when they were stationed in Bonners Ferry in the 1960s. Since then the bleachers have been repainted, updated, covered by a grandstand and a sound station installed. 

Throughout the years repairs have been made to the concession stands, ticket booth and restrooms. In summer 2022 the old football and track concession stand was built in the 1970s and was updated thanks to funds raised by the Badger Boosters.

The stands did have additional handicap access in 2007, thanks in part to John Heigel’s Eagle Scout project. However, after decades of use, a new grandstand was much needed. 

The old stadium was no longer stable, Boundary County School District Superintendent Jan Bayer said when the project was announced. 

“If you’ve been on them as a parent of small children, or as an older individual, you probably already know that,” she said. 

The stands were kept up for BFHS graduation, before being torn down in July 2023 with the help of alumni in the construction industry. 

The district is funding the project including engineering costs through the general fund, forest funds, monies from the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and donations from sponsors.

The new grandstands are ADA-compliant, with ramps leading up to seating. A paved walkway will be added from the ticket booth to the grandstand as well. 

The grandstands were originally projected to be completed during the football season. Unfortunately, the project was delayed and Badger fans watched on in lawn chairs on the track. The student section consisted of portable bleachers. Announcers, Boundary County Live film crews and even some coaches sat in scissor lifts between the crowd and bleacher construction during games, making do as construction took place. 

BCSD has fundraised about $37,500 from community members, which goes to sponsored seats, just like at Becker Auditorium. Donation information and forms are available on the district's website.

    Crews demolish the old stadium at Bonners Ferry High School's Mendenhall Stadium.