On Saturday the long awaited grand opening of Cardinal stadium at Greenwich High School was marked with a ribbon cutting under sunny skies. The day marked the Cardinals return to their stadium where they won their game against Stamford High School’s Black Knights, though the game was paused for a time due to thunder and lightning. It was also homecoming weekend.
Last March the same group gathered for a ground breaking wearing hard hats and face masks. Since then new ADA accessible bleachers have been completed, along with a new kiosk, press box and elevator, team rooms, bathrooms and handicapped parking lot.
Steph Cowie, GHS co-president who is also the vice chair of the First Selectman’s Committee for People with Disabilities. “This day brings so much joy and happiness. Behind us is the most amazing, beautiful, safe and accessible stadium, she said, to cheers.
Peter Bernstein said the project was in the works for seven years. Along the way the original bleachers went up in 1970 and were condemned in 2019 had been held up with rented scaffolding before being demolished in December 2020.
BOE member Joe Kelly, liaison to the stadium committee, said once the old bleachers were demolished, it brought attention to the project.
“This is a project for the community. It’s not just for the athletes,” noted Bernstein, who noted that all GHS students graduate in the stadium. “It really is for everybody.”
“This is an upgrade to a 50 year old facility. We had to do it. It was condemned, but we wanted to do it,” he said, adding that phase 2 of the project will be important with a second egress from the high school will be key, considering Putnam Ave will be one way in each direction when the DOT does an upgrade at the intersection of Hillside and Putnam Ave.
“If we don’t get this project done, we’ll all be sitting on the Post Road trying to drop our kids off at the high school,” he said.
Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo said, “All great teams and projects need a ‘closer.’ Someone to come in and finish the job. Especially one as longstanding as this.”
He noted that the bleachers weren’t purchased new back in 1970 when GHS opened on Hillside Road. They were brought up from Washington, DC after after being used for inaugurations.