Newly renovated Zaepfel Stadium complex
open in time for spring use
Yakima Herald Republic
The opening of a new school building wasn’t the only renovation that occurred at
Eisenhower High School this past school year. The other big change was the
completion and opening this spring of the redone Zaepfel Stadium.
Although the old high school was torn down and the new one was built to the west
of it, Zaepfel Stadium is still in its same location, even though a bit of the
space is used differently now. With a new turf field that will be used for
football and marching band competitions, the site was put into use this spring
for soccer and for track meets.
The new Don Holder Track includes a new long jump pit, discus and javelin areas,
and shot put pit. Due to a lack of space prior to the renovation, some of the
field events had been held inside the stadium, while others such as the javelin
and discus took place on grass areas that were between the stadium and Tieton
Now, all the throwing events have moved to an area south of the stadium’s
perimeter. The long jump, which was previously inside the track on the south
side, is now outside the track at the northwest corner inside the stadium.
Zaepfel’s entire renovation cost around $4.2 million.
The school district held a formal dedication for the renovated athletic areas
The stadium was named after a longtime school district athletic director and A.C
Davis High School coach, John Zaepfel, while Don Holder Track is named after a
former history teacher and track coach. The site is home to one of the bigger
track meets in the region, the Holder Relays, where an estimated 1,000 student
athletes participate every year. It is also home to many records by former
students who are now Eisenhower staff members.
According to Anthony Riojas, a sophomore on Ike’s junior varsity soccer team:
“The turf is so much better to play on than the previous grass field. It just
adds to how fun it is to play the game of soccer.”
Riojas is one of the only students lucky enough to have the stadium finished
just in time for his sports season at the beginning of spring. Now, students
from Eisenhower have been able to resume using their own home field instead of
the one at Marquette, which was seeing a lot of usage this year when three
schools were sharing the field. Home games for Davis’ sub-varsity boys and girls
soccer teams will also be played at Zaepfel now, rather than the previous site
at Chesterley Park.
“What I hated about playing at Marquette was the muddy field and not having any
grip and sliding all the time,” said Bryce Reynolds, a sophomore on Ike’s
varsity football team. “The best thing about the new field is the grip from the
turf. Also, it looks pretty awesome.”
Besides looking pretty, changes to the field have made sporting events much
easier. Resources for field events have been expanded and now include such
features as two long jump pits and two high jump mats that now allow some of the
boys and girls events to be conducted at the same time, enabling meets to
operate more efficiently.
Anthony Stewart, one of Ike’s track coaches, has a couple of disappointments,
though. One is a lack of volunteers to assist with meets on the new track. The
other is that he’d like to see more people enjoying the facility.
“It’s not just Ike’s track,” he points out. “It belongs to the community, and
there aren’t as many people in the stands as there should be.”
The overall renovation itself is far from disappointing, though. As Stewart
points out: “There’s a lot of enjoyment from coaches and athletes that don’t
have a facility like this. Students are just in awe and brimming with smiles.”