Jenks vs Union

Union High students raise their hands in Union-Tuttle Stadium before kickoff of the annual MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl football game against archrival Jenks on Sept. 13, 2019. On Thursday, the Union Public Schools will begin demolition of the westside grandstand to prepare the way for $42 million in stadium renovations and other campus improvements. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World

Weather permitting, demolition of Union-Tuttle Stadium will commence at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to a Union Public Schools news release.

Demolition will begin on the west side of the stadium — originally built in 1976 — in preparation for the construction of a new $42 million stadium and fine arts facility, which also includes significant renovations in the high school.

The new stadium complex will include redesigned concessions and restroom facilities on the home side, as well as a new fine arts addition at the north end of the football field to serve the Union Renegade Regiment marching band.

Tearing down the stadium’s west side will take an estimated six to eight weeks. The new stadium is expected to open in 2021, followed by the fine arts addition in 2022. Union plans to host three or more football games next fall. Spectators will be temporarily reassigned to the east and north bleachers for the 2020 season.

“Union-Tuttle Stadium has served us well for 43 years, but it’s time that we make improvements to better serve all of our students and patrons,” Union superintendent Kirt Hartzler said. “We will make it up to our fans in the 2021 season, when we host more home games in a new stadium. It will definitely be worth the wait, as the fan experience will be greatly enhanced.”

Joining Hartzler for Thursday’s demolition commencement will be associate superintendent Charlie Bushyhead, who is leading construction of the new facility; Dr. Wesley Jarman, superintendent from 1975-90 who oversaw the construction of the original stadium; and Gil Cloud, Union athletic director at the time and current Tulsa Public Schools director of athletics.

Other additions include a new wrestling practice area, an expanded weight room and locker room, as well as a new press box. The final phase of the project will include high school interior renovations providing new spaces for the arts, volleyball and spirit groups.

Union’s first varsity football game in the old stadium took place on Sept. 24, 1976. In the last two years alone, the stadium has hosted 866 events, according to a Union news release.

— Mike Brown,

Tulsa World