Friday night lights get a little brighter at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium in Wintersville

READY TO PLAY — Members of the Indian Creek High School football time get ready to take on Indian Valley High School on Friday evening at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium. More than $1 million was spent on the installation of FieldTurf at the stadium, and the replacement of new lights with LED bulbs. It was the first time for fans to see the improvements. (Photo by Mark Law)

WINTERSVILLE — Friday night lights got a lot better at Indian Creek High School’s Kettlewell Memorial Stadium as football fans on Friday evening got their first glimpse at more than $1 million in improvements to the facility.

T.C. Chappelear, Indian Creek Local School District superintendent, said FieldTurf was installed, eliminating the sloppy field conditions which have plagued home games. The stadium lights were replaced with LED bulbs, he said.

“This is a big thing for us. We can get more kids out on the field,” Chappelear said of the boys and girls soccer teams being able to use the stadium and the band being able to practice on the field.

In fact, the band sometimes wasn’t able to perform at halftime because of the poor field conditions, especially when it was raining, he said.

Chappelear said there were times when the junior varsity football team wasn’t able to use the field. The varsity football team used a different field to practice, he said.

The FieldTurf alone cost about $950,000, with the lighting costing under $200,000, Chappelear said.

Voters in 2008 approved a continuous permanent improvement levy for school improvements.

The note for the school improvements was paid off in 2018, so the district took out an anticipation loan for the stadium improvements.

“We are up there with the best stadiums in the area now,” he said.

The lighting at the stadium wasn’t the best and kind of dark, Chappelear said.

“People will be amazed at how much the field is illuminated,” he said.

Indian Creek played their first home game on Friday against Indian Valley High School.

Kim Howell, assistant band director, said the old field was so bad the band couldn’t perform at halftime.

When asked about the new field surface, Howell said, “It is a treasure. It is beautiful.”

Band Director Don R. Llewellyn Jr. said the FieldTurf is so much better for the band members because it eliminates safety issues.

He said the field was cleared on Thursday for student use. Now the band will be using the field for band practice on a daily basis.

Cacharel Torok of Mingo Junction was at the game on Friday to watch Creek play football and her daughter, Lilliana, a senior in the band.

“It is beautiful. It looks amazing. It was money well spent,” she said.

However, her daughter said the field was hot during practice and made her feet burn.

Torok said the stadium needs more seating.

“Everyone is crunched in and standing,” she said.

Les Patterson of Wintersville said he has been coming to the stadium for decades to watch the football games.

“It is impressive,” he said, adding the field surface will be safer for the players. “It was definitely money well spent.”