Lights up, new turf next for Rocky Mountain College football field

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Sports writer for The Billings Gazette.

Bruce Parker estimates he goes out and looks at least twice a day.

“To watch the progress,” Rocky Mountain College’s athletic director said.
On Wednesday, Parker and other members of the athletic department watched as four 72-foot light poles were installed.
It was a historic moment at Herb Klindt Field.
“Having the lights put in was exciting,” Parker said.
And the work continues.
The FieldTurf is expected to arrive in Billings sometimes early next week, with installation beginning July 5.
The new turf will alternate dark and light green in 10-yard increments.
Lights and new turf are the major components of the improvement to the home field for the Rocky football program.
“It’s a daily reminder to our kids the commitment level the school has for us putting together the best field in the world,” said first-year head football coach Jason Petrino, who has also been an interested observer in the stadium’s progress.
“It shows the commitment level to the student-athlete to give us an edge in playing and recruiting.”
The school has flattened the area surrounding the football field, added new sidewalks and will be adding new ticket gates.
Electrical wiring for the lights and field still needs to be done. The new field will also have water so trainers won’t have to carry containers from campus.
“Right now, the ultimate goal is to be finished by August 1, barring any unforeseen problems,” Parker said while driving a golf cart around the field as a water truck sprayed big circles to bring down the dust.
“The weather has been a great partner and cooperated. I know in this area we need rain but no rain has been a good thing for us.”
Rocky is working with Billings Central on the football field, giving the Rams a place to play Friday nights.
The Rams previously played Saturday afternoons and evenings at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium. Their first home game is Sept. 9 against Dillon.
The Battlin’ Bears host Carroll in their first home game Sept. 10.
Parker sees nothing but an upside of sharing the field with Central.
“One of the goals school president Dr. Robert Wilmouth wants is for us to be good community partners,” he said. “And working with Billings Central on the football field does that.
“To have high school football here on a Friday night will be fun for us. With those games, lots and lots of high school kids will be coming to our campus. It does a lot for us beyond games.”
Parker envisions other high school teams possibly using the field.
“We’ll open this to other high school games if teams are interested,” he said.
Rocky has tentative plans for an unveiling ceremony Aug. 24.
School officials are also working on other aspects associated with the new-look stadium.
“It will always be Herb Klindt Field,” Parker said. “But the naming rights for the stadium are still available.
“We’re still raising money and if people want to donate money for the field project, we will accept it.”

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