HUDSON: A crowd of about 700 people filled the bleachers at Hudson Memorial Stadium for the very first time on Thursday.
"I don't know if there's anything not possible in Hudson," said Superintendent Steven Farnsworth.
The ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday marked the completion of the $5.5 million stadium, which was funded by private donations. Construction began in March.
The Tom and Joy Murdough Foundation gave $3 million of that total, and it was at their request that the stadium was named to honor Hudson residents who lost their lives while serving inAmerica's military forces
. The field will bear their name.
The field is ready for the Explorers first scheduled game against Kenston at 7 p.m. on Friday.
"I can't think of another stadium that was built this way," said Farnsworth.
Usually, he says, a district has to put a bond issue on the ballot and voters must approve the funding for such a project.
He pointed out that Scott Malson field at the Middle School was also built from private donations.
In a bad economic time, Farnshworth marveled at the community's accomplishing two such costly projects, without requiring the use of public funds.
Mayor William Currin described it in his speech as "the single largest community philanthropic effort in the City of Hudson."
Farnsworth lavished praise for former head football coach and athletic director, Edward Sogan, who spearheaded the fundraising campaign.
The stadium has seating for 3,000 on the home side, and 2,000 for the visitors. It has state-of-the art turf, and a press box 78-feet-long.
There is a 2,300-square foot building, which houses concessions and restrooms on the home side, and a 1,200-square-foot building on the visitor's side.
At the entrance is a military memorial: five monuments dedicated to Hudson residents who have died in war.
There are also engraved commemorative veteran and active duty service bricks and a 60-foot flag pole.
Currin described the stadium as "proof, we as a community have the ability to be remarkable."
Pre-game activities begin at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, with the Hudson marching band playing music with a military theme.
Visiting members of the military will lead the football team through the tunnel at the start of the football game.
Communications Manager Sheryl Sheatzley invites all active servicemen, servicewomen and reservists, to attend the first game in their uniforms and receive free admission.
Dedication activities will conclude on Saturday with a 5K run/walk to benefit disabled veterans.