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New Stargel Stadium won't be ready for Taft's first football game

Opening will be delayed until Sept. 13
Posted at 1:31 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 18:07:29-04

CINCINNATI — The new Stargel Stadium will not be ready to host Taft High School's first football game next week because of construction delays that will push back the opening two weeks, officials told WCPO Friday.

A Cincinnati Public Schools spokesperson said they "are anticipating rain that will keep us from finishing paving the site" in time for the scheduled Aug. 28 opener against Northwest. That game has been moved to Walnut Hills.

Josh Hardin, athletics director for Cincinnati Public Schools, said they could have played at Stargel next Wednesday but locker rooms and concessions stands won't be ready.

Hardin said the new opening date for the stadium will be Sept. 13, with Taft hosting Withrow. A ribbon cutting ceremony is also planned.

Hardin said summer rains delayed construction.

Crews were still working on the $10 million stadium a week ago when WCPO reported on the project.

“I’ve been rushed the whole project,” Dan Pickard, one of the project supervisors, said at the time. “The project was slow to get started because of a lot of complications we went through.”

The turf was installed and the field was already being used for practice. But crews were still working on the grandstand and areas around the field.

Pickard said his crews would work seven days a week to get the stadium football ready.

Six other CPS football teams are scheduled to use Stargel Stadium - namely Aiken, Gamble Montessori, Hughes STEM, Riverview East, Shroder and Woodward.

The delay impacts one other football game in Week 1 (Withrow vs. Woodward, Aug. 30) and one in Week 2 (Hughes vs. North College Hill, Sept. 6). They will have to be moved. No soccer games are scheduled for Stargel.

FC Cincinnati paid the tab for a new, upgraded Stargel Stadium across the street from the West End high school in a deal with CPS. The soccer club bulldozed the old Stargel after last football season to make room to build a new Major League Soccer stadium.

The Taft-Northwest game will be the first football game of the season in Southwest Ohio. It's part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.

RELATED: Willard Stargel: The man, the legend behind Stargel Stadium.