New Football Stadium Project
As fans gather at Thomas Dupuy Field for a Friday night home game, young athletes are kneeling in prayer in a quiet locker room. This time-honored tradition of asking the Lord to watch over them and their fellow competitors is how the St. Charles Catholic High School (SCC) football team prepares for every game to compete in His honor.
It is also the last silent moment for the next two hours. Minutes later, the bleachers erupt in cheers as fans welcome their Comets football team to the field. Students, faculty, families, alumni and boosters, join together to support the young men in blue and gold.
IT’S GAME TIME
With each kick off, expectations are high and everyone is a member of this team. While the players are on the field, they do not do battle alone. The student managers, cheerleaders, star steppers and drum line, together with the players make up 50% of SCC’s total enrollment. The positive impact from our storied football program has lasted for generations.
This inclusive partnership has created one of the most successful football programs in the state. The Comets have qualified for the state playoffs 17 straight years under the guidance of head coach Frank Monica. They won the school’s first state championship in 2011. The team went 15-0 to win the Class 3A title. The Comets were also runners-up three times and semi-finalists eight times in that span.
While winning is important, what happens on the field goes beyond the final score.
“I am motivated to teach young kids fundamentals while instilling discipline and accountability which ultimately creates one’s work ethic,” Monica said of the life lessons learned on the field. “I hope students walk away from SCC with a wholesome experience in an environment of enthusiasm.”
The SCC stadium is filled with history that reaches to the highest levels of organized football. It is the only remaining segment of the original Tulane/Sugar Bowl Stadium, which once stood proudly as the largest steel-structured stadium in the world. Even fans of the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints sat in those bleachers, which served as the home of the Saints for eight seasons from 1967 through 1974 and hosted three of the first nine Super Bowls (IV in 1970, VI in 1972 and IX in 1975).
As demolition of the stadium began in November 1979, a team of workers prepared a portion of the stadium to be barged up the Mississippi River to serve as SCC’s football stadium. Now, after serving the SCC football program for nearly 40 years, the structure will be dismantled one last time and the steel sold as scrap to a recycler to help defray the cost of erecting the new aluminum bleachers.
Unfortunately, the famed football facility is at a crossroads. After decades of use, the steel structure has reached the end of its lifespan. Survey the bleachers and the problems are clear:
• Rust is crippling the structure to the point that holes have developed in sections of the decking.
• Where the rust has not eaten through the metal, paint and sanding can longer cosmetically hide the weakened areas.
• Stairs, ramps and aisles are not ADA compliant.
• Aisles, without hand rails, are especially troubling for seniors who often need assistance getting up and down the bleachers to prevent falls.
Additionally, aisles are too narrow to accommodate two- way traffic. Fans heading in opposite directions must yield to one another to get by.
• Maintenance costs for the wooden plank bleacher benches is on-going.
The only solution is to replace the storied stadium. Purchase and installation costs are $530,000.
The new aluminum bleachers will feature:
• Seating for 1,459 in 15 rows.
• An ADA-approved ramp and 16 wheelchair spaces.
• Three access stairs and four stadium aisles with railing systems in the middle of each.
• A press box measuring eight-feet by 24-feet plus a rooftop camera deck.