Student-athletes will soon have another facility to use for home games.

Bismarck Public Schools broke ground Wednesday on a $10.5 million sports complex at the new Legacy High School in northeast Bismarck.

The first phase is slated to finish in October, complete with football and soccer fields. An eight-lane track will be finished by next spring, with more fields planned.

"This is a public school and community facility," activities director Jim Haussler said. "It is going to be used by all the schools within the district and many, many more."

The population boom has maxed out existing sports facilities in Bismarck, according to Randy Bina, executive director of the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.

The problem becomes particularly apparent during the high school girls' softball season due to the high number of teams in Bismarck.

"When adult softball starts later in the spring, we run into some challenges," he said. "Two additional fields for baseball and for softball will greatly help going forward."

Though the baseball and softball fields won't be built for at least another year, each sport will eventually see two fields at Legacy — one with artificial turf and another with natural turf.

The "all-weather" artificial turf will give athletes an extra month to play outside and won't wear out due to inclement weather.

Bismarck Public Schools still plans to hold major football and soccer games at the Community Bowl. The fields at Legacy will accommodate other sporting events in need of a venue.

"We have such spillover that this is going to be used constantly and by various schools," Haussler said.

The district has not scheduled any games at the Legacy fields next school year, but Haussler didn't rule out that possibility if facilities are ready in time.

Superintendent Tamara Uselman was on site for Wednesday's groundbreaking. Standing beside the future sports complex and new high school building, she said she almost gets teary seeing the state-of-the-art facilities come to light.

"It's a little unreal. It's coming together out of the dirt," she said.

Legacy High School is slated for completion this summer with additional athletic facilities inside, including a wrestling room, cardio room and two gyms. Workers on Wednesday in the main gym were laying down wooden boards for the floor, which will be surrounded by bleachers.

Darin Scherr, business and operations manager for the school district, said the school's band will file into the bleachers from an indoor track built high above the court around the perimeter of the gym.

The main gym will be named for Haussler, who is retiring this summer after 23 years as activities director.

(Reach Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8267 or amy.sisk@bismarcktribune.com.)

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