Bangor’s Cameron Stadium is on track to host its first high school sporting event on its new artificial-turf, multipurpose field as soon as later this week, either a field hockey match Thursday, a football game Friday night or a schoolgirl soccer match Saturday morning.
The facility also has already scheduled its first state championship event, the Class D football final at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19.
It’s the first state championship football game to be held at Cameron Stadium since 1996, when Foxcroft Academy edged Old Orchard Beach 15-14 to capture the Class C title.
The Class D final game originally was scheduled to be held at the University of Maine on the same date as part of the Maine Principals’ Association’s annual state championship game rotation at Alfond Stadium on the Orono campus among football’s 11-player Classes B, C and D.
But with UMaine also hosting Boston University in a Hockey East women’s hockey match at the adjacent Alfond Arena and the Black Bears men’s basketball team set to host UMaine Fort Kent at Memorial Gymnasium also near the football field on the same evening, the decision was made to move the high school game to the newly upgraded Bangor location.
“[UMaine] would have done it and they’ve been great to work with, but having three contests right there in the same area is probably a little much,” MPA interscholastic executive director Mike Burnham said.
Bangor High School athletic administrator Steve Vanidestine said that having championship events like the Class D football state final is consistent with the goal of restoring Cameron Stadium as a host site for regional and state-level events in a variety of sports as well as providing competitive and recreational opportunities for the city’s school teams and residents of all ages.
“We’d like to be part of the [championship-event] rotation, and I think this is the start of it,” he said. “It’s going to be great to host those games and have kids on that field at all levels from championship games to youth sports.”
Vanidestine said Cameron Stadium can seat approximately 3,500 fans on the home side of the field as constructed, and that plans are in the works for 1,000 more seats on the visitors’ side, perhaps as soon as next year.
“We’re hoping to eventually seat about 5,000 people with standing room for 2,000 or 3,000 on the 5-foot asphalt runway on the outside of the 4-foot fence that’s around the field,” he said.
Class D football has a single nine-team statewide division this fall. Participating schools are Bucksport, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, John Bapst of Bangor, Lisbon-St. Dominic, Madison-Carrabec-Valley, Winthrop-Monmouth-Hall-Dale, Freeport, Poland and Oak Hill of Wales.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the last state championship football game that was played at Cameron Stadium. The story has been updated to reflect that it was in 1996.