If all goes as planned, Payson High School football fans will be right back where they started cheering from bleachers on the south side of the field. That's where the home-team bleachers were 30 years ago when the high school stadium was built.
The return of the stands to the south side of the field is part of a stadium improvement project that has been under way at Payson High for the past two years.
Construction was recently completed on a retaining wall between Wilson Dome and the football field. The wall will help support the bleachers.
According to Payson High School Athletic Director Dave Bradley, workers will soon backfill behind the wall and then allow it to settle before moving the bleachers north to south.
Portable stands for visiting fans will then be erected on the north side, Bradley said.
As part of the improvement project, new bleachers that can seat between 2,500 and 3,000 spectators will eventually replace the well-worn stands that will be moved to the home side of the field.
In addition, the school's improvement project committee has hired consultant Greg Hull to help build an all-weather track surface around the football field.
The project has taken longer than originally expected, but that's because "we want to do it right," Bradley said.
During the first phase of the operation, crews relocated and improved a sewer drain that ran underneath the track.
That project, and the construction of the retaining wall, played havoc with middle school and high school track and field seasons last spring.
The high school squad was forced to move its one home meet, the Rotary Invitational, to Apache Junction High School.
Rim Country Middle School hosted one meet on a track that had just four running lanes.
But when the project is finally complete, the finished product will be well worth the wait and inconvenience, Bradley said.
The Credit for Kids tax program has funded much of the project, which means football fans won't have to absorb the costs through higher ticket prices.
Football game admission prices remain unchanged from last season: Tickets for varsity contests are $4 for adults and $3 for students. Admission to jayvee games is $3 for adults and $2 for students.