The first thing you may notice might be the bright, new red-toned track, ready to safely host Gloucester High School’s track athletes for the first time in seven years.
Then again, it might be the slick, well-defined playing surface, with artificial turf that looks quite different from the rutted, gutted surface many fans and players alike would see in the past.
It might be the new grandstand, with full accessiblity to all, and proudly displaying the school’s colors. Or it might be the new restroom building at the corner of the stands, newly installed just last month and finally providing game fans the modest comfort they had not had in recent years.
But all of those elements will greet residents and visitors alike at the new Newell Stadium, which hosts its formal opening ceremony and its first football game Friday night when the 2013 GHS Fishermen face Lynn Classical at 5 p.m.
“We’re all ready to go,” said Dick Wilson, a leader of the Gloucester Fisherman Athletic Association and the primary organizer of the fundraising drive that has made this project a reality. In fact, GFAA, school and city officials carried out a dress rehearsal of Friday night’s opening ceremonies on the field.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many diverse people — young, old, supporters, cynics — all coming together and all agreeing on one thing,” Wilson added. “When you just step into the place, I can’t help but think that it’s nicer than any field that I’ve ever been to, in any community — and believe me, as a committee, we’ve been to a lot of them over the last four years. This field and stadium could be plunked down in the middle of Harvard, and it would fit right in.”