Bishop Dwenger principal Jason Schiffli confirmed to OutsidetheHuddle.net on Friday that the school is in the “discussion and planning process” to build a multi-purpose outdoor stadium facility on its campus, saying “the ball is rolling in that direction.”
Schiffli offered no timeline on the project, although OutsidetheHuddle.net has been told by sources that playing football at the new facility in 2019 is not out of the realm of possibility if details can be worked out.
Bishop Dwenger currently plays football games at Concordia Lutheran High School’s Zollner Stadium and soccer games at The Plex. The new on-campus facility would allow the Saints to compete in both of those sports at home.
Currently, Bishop Dwenger conducts practices at Shields Field, which had turf installed a few years ago. Preliminary plans for what may eventually be known as “Shields Stadium” includes the installation of lights, a new scoreboard, the construction of bleachers, a new entrance and total seating for about 3,000 spectators around the existing turf field.
Schiffli said Friday that an unnamed benefactor offered to fund a portion of the project. The Bishop Dwenger principal said that additional funding will need to be secured, further designs of the facility will need developed and approval through the proper channels will have to be secured before the project moves forward.
“We have had a great relationship with Concordia at Zollner Stadium over the years,” Schiffli said. “But as we know the weather can make the field very sloppy and unplayable toward the end of the season.
“Once we installed a great turf (on Shields Field), we began to think, ‘What could we do in terms of enhancements around the field?'”
Logistical obstacles will also need to be ironed out. It has been the opinion of many that Bishop Dwenger High School’s lack of significant parking lot space would prevent the school from hosting varsity football games without a major revamp. How the school intends to address that issue, if it indeed is one, remains to be seen.
There is also the issue of the proximity of the east side of Shields Field to N. Clinton St. and whether that would prevent the installation of a significant amount of seating space on the “visiting” side of the field.
Despite the perceived obstacles, it appears that arguably the most storied football program in northeast Indiana will soon have a stadium to call its own.