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Hillcrest High School previews first-ever stadium

AMMON (KIFI) - Hillcrest High School, one of the largest in Idaho, will soon have a stadium of its own.

Hillcrest has played football, lacrosse, and soccer games at Bonneville High School, located five miles away, for its entire 32-year history. Starting this fall, the Knights’ home games will actually be played at home.

Larry Stocking, Hillcrest’s athletic director, single-handedly spearheaded the effort to build Westmark Stadium.

“This has been a little over a four-year journey for me,” he said.

Few schools have the necessary $3 million sitting around for the stadium’s construction, and Hillcrest was no different. Instead, Stocking courted private donors and corporate sponsors. Some labor and materials were donated, and naming rights for various parts of the field covered the rest.

“And this location was key for us to be able to even do this stadium,” Stocking explained, gesturing to Ammon’s main street beyond the fence. “The amount of traffic that goes by on Sunnyside Road here was very appealing to all of our donors and sponsors.”

Local News 8 asked Stocking why he feels the cost is justified.

“Well, I think it’s because, in the City of Ammon, we don’t have anything here that’s kind of a community gathering place,” he explained.

“That’s the most important thing,” he continued. “For me, it’s not so much the sports as it is a place for the community to be.”

The 4,000-seat stadium has been designed with that communal experience in mind.

“It’ll actually have a big, red ‘H’ in the middle that you’ll be able to see from the distance,” Stocking said while pointing to the main bleachers.

“This area right here is for concession trucks,” he said by the end zone closest to the school. “So we have agreements with 12 food trucks and concessions people that will come in and park.”

“And the cool thing about this, what I’m excited about, is the fans can get their food, and they can just watch the game right here from the fence,” he continued. “So this will be a nice standing room area for them as well.”

The stadium is also equipped with a state-of-the-art LED floodlight system which can uplight an airborne football and display 600 different light combinations. But the field, of course, remains the focal point.

“This actually has a concussion pad underneath that will pass a six-foot concussion test, so it’s one of the safest fields that you could have,” Stocking explained.

“Similar to places like University of Montana and LSU, we have about the same distance from the fans to the field,” he continued, gesturing to the bleachers. “So the fan experience is gonna be great.”

Westmark Stadium will host the state soccer championships this fall. Opening day is slated for September 6th.

However, the lacrosse and soccer markings have not yet been stitched onto the turf field. The entrance plaza and locker rooms will not be completed for quite some time. But even unfinished, the stadium is already paying dividends.

“The other night, I turned the lights on, and it was like moths to a flame,” Stocking recalled. “How many people would stop - little kids, dads, and young ladies out kicking a soccer ball or running pass patterns and different things out there.”

“And I just sat off in my truck, enjoying and getting a little misty, because it’s been a long journey,” he added. “A lot of people said we couldn’t do it, and we’re very close to getting it done.”

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Sam Gelfand


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