Merced High School held a ribbon cutting Friday morning, August 12, to dedicate the opening of their first ever on-campus football stadium. In the stands, which seat 3,400 people, were current Merced High students and community members.

According to Merced High’s varsity head football coach, Rob Scheidt, the $6.5 million project was successful because of the outpouring of donations from community members. One of the largest donations was from Stonefield Home developer and farmer, Greg Hostetler who donated 8.3 acres of land to begin the project.

Hostetler, a resident of Los Banos, builds homes in Los Banos and Merced.

The stadium is named Cathie Hostetler Stadium after his late wife Cathie, who passed away in 2010 from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) after 38 years of marriage. Hostetler, during his address to the crowd Friday, said it was Cathie’s wish to give back to the communities that have supported their family over the years.

Community donations also paid for the video scoreboard, press box and ticket booth. The field, complete with lights and sound system, will also be used for soccer, a school band performances and other events.

Scheidt, who is credited with getting the stadium built, says that he feels as though the torch was passed to him from previous coaches to continue the efforts for a new stadium. As a Christian he says he gives God all the credit for making it happen. There were times he wasn’t sure it was even possible, but he kept moving forward.