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Ceremony for new RCTC complex a big hit

By Guy N. Limbeck

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

In football terms, it was a successful kickoff. More than 375 people attended the ceremony Saturday to celebrate the construction of the new Regional Stadium on the Rochester Community and Technical College campus.

The crowd included fans, parents of current RCTC players, coaches, business leaders and city dignitaries.

"It was an awesome crowd," RCTC President Don Supalla said.

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Members of Rochester youth football and soccer were on hand because down the line the stadium with artificial turf will be for far more than RCTC football and soccer.

"It’s not an RCTC stadium," Supalla said. "It’s a community stadium, that’s what it’s all about."

Phase one of the construction has begun and should be complete this winter. RCTC is playing its home football games off campus this season, but the new stadium will help the always-strong Yellowjackets team in the future.

"If you talk about facilities, it should be a big recruiting tool," RCTC football coach Brad LaPlante said.

LaPlante heard a lot of positive comments about the college from parents who were in attendance to watch RCTC’s 31-15 win over Vermilion on Saturday.

"A lot of them said our campus is better than their four-year colleges back home," LaPlante said.

Phase one of the stadium is for $3.5 million and includes the artificial turf, lights, seating for 1,500 fans, the start of a press box and the foundation for the inflatable bubble. The bubble will be put in place during the winter months and cover the field, but not the stands.

Phase two, which includes the bubble, will call for $1.5 million in private funds, which must be raised by RCTC.

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"Right now we’re looking for private donations," Supalla said.

The impact of the stadium will reach far into the community. Besides youth soccer and football, lacrosse and rugby teams could also play there.

Supalla said there will be even greater prospects of bringing regional or national events to the city.

"It adds a whole new athletic facility that we’ve never had," Supalla said, referring to Rochester.

"We’re trying to think outside the box. I think the economic impact will be great."

Lourdes could also begin playing its high school football games at the field in 2008.

Supalla said the prospects of holding high school playoff games at the stadium as soon as next year are also good.

Officials laud stadium, B4

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RCTC whips Vermilion D4

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