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Billings schools seeking feedback on future of Daylis Stadium

Daylis Bleachers
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 08, 2024

BILLINGS - Billings Public Schools is hosting a meeting on Tuesday night seeking feedback from the community over the future of Daylis Stadium.

The stadium, which was built in 1929 and has deteriorated over the years, is the primary host site for Billings high school football games, track meets and other special events such as the Big Sky State Games and the occasional Shrine All-Star Football game.

The meeting on Tuesday, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the library at Senior High before residents receive a tour of the facility, will hope to provide the district with insight about what the public sees as the best steps going forward.

"If nothing else, we'll create awareness," said Billings Schools Activities Director Mark Sulser on Monday. "I think majority of people who have come to Billings are aware of where we are at."

Sulser, who used to serve as a coach and teacher in the school district, said the stadium is iconic and has been home to many big games and moments over the years.

"There's a lot of history here," Sulser said. "There's been some great ball games, whether it be soccer or football championships here, but it's become emergent and we've got to fix it."

Steps at Daylis

Sulser showed MTN around the stadium on Monday and expressed some primary concerns. The steps leading up the bleachers are crumbling, leaving piles of debris along the steps and even holes in the structure.

"For handicapped or the elderly, the advice is to sit low, right, because there's no handrails. And even if you are a bit nimble, you do have to watch your step," Sulser said as he walked to the top of the bleachers.

The track is also having problems, says Sulser. Currently, there are only six lanes, which isn't enough for the stadium to be able to host post-season high school track meets, and the asphalt has been patched numerous times leaving bumps and cracks.

Daylis Track

"You can see the surface of the track has been patched year after year after year," Sulser said.

Damage also exists beneath the bleachers in the locker rooms and showers beneath the stadium — all examples of the wear and tear that the district is hoping to repair.

"It's a great spot and it's a great venue, but it's tired," Sulser said. "And we need to fix it."

Locker room below Daylis

But not everyone believes making repairs at Daylis is the right move. Billings resident Larry Herzog said he'd rather invest in a new facility than attempt to fix the current stadium.

"It's not necessarily the deterioration but the limitation," said Herzog Monday afternoon. "I don't know that there's really a way to expand Daylis. It's either kicking the can down the road or a band-aid solution of what we have."

It's unclear how many repairs the district will end up deciding to make and where the funds for the projects will come from, but both Herzog and Sulser agreed that something needs to be done.

"We have to look and plan for the future today and not 'Whoops, we should've done that,'" Herzog said.

"I loved this place when it was old," Sulser said. "But that was 10, 15, 20 years ago. Something has to be done."