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Donegal board members Feb. 20 unanimously agreed that the district's new football stadium should focus on seating spectators comfortably.
With that goal in mind, the board voted to proceed to the next step and instruct the district's architect to design an 1,800-seat football stadium next to the new high school.
The "1,800 is based on what could fit within the land development plan," said Steve Gault, board member and chairman of the facilities committee.
At the district's February facilities meeting, the committee appeared to be leaning toward a seating capacity 1,400 to 1,600.
But with stadium seating, what is considered "as-built" isn't necessarily practical.
Business manager Amy Swartz said a 22 percent difference can exist between the number of people bleacher-style seating can actually seat comfortably versus the projected seating capacity on paper.
That is because bleacher-style seating calls for 18 inches of seat for every person.
Swartz said that 22 inches of seating is more realistic because football games are held in cooler weather when attendees tend to wear bulkier clothing.
She presented statistics on attendance at Donegal football games over a four-year period, indicating the average home game attendance was 1,432.
However, when examined from a two-year perspective, game attendance showed that interest in Donegal football is growing, with attendance approaching 1,600 people per game.
The plan also recognizes that many people stand during games in other areas of the stadium. Those people include band members who perform during games.
However, the new stadium project would reduce the standing areas between the stadium and concession stands and the field.
Mount Joy resident Eric Rohrer supported the board's decision on the proposed football stadium but was concerned about the district's growing population and new residential development.
"I don't want to have the district come back in 10 years needing a larger stadium," he said.
Board president Oliver Overlander III stressed that no stadium design is set in stone.
He said that if the architect's 1,800-seat design doesn't meet the district's financial plan, revisions would have to be made.
The stadium project has been estimated at $3.5 million to $4 million, which would be financed through sources money from the district's capital improvements account and a planned capital campaign with the Donegal Athletic Club.
Architectural plans for the new stadium would also factor in other uses for the facilities, such as a running track around the field.
Donegal football played six home games during the 2013-14 season.