Fans of the Marietta Tigers were pleased with the football team's victory Friday night - and with renovations made to Don Drumm Stadium.
"It's just got a different feel to it," said Devola resident Sandy Heinlein, 67. "We're on the professional side of football."
A $3.6 million renovation project brought new home bleachers to the stadium, along with a new scoreboard and a four-story building containing a home locker room, coaches' offices and a press box. Other aspects include an expanded public concourse with concession stands and larger and modernized bathrooms.
Marietta High School students cheer the Tigers on against Morgan.
While the Marietta College Pioneers will play their first game at the stadium on Sept. 3, the Tigers were the first home team at the new and improved Don Drumm.
"This is a wonderful facility," said Marietta resident Will Dimit, 76. "Whenever the college does something, it's first class."
Dimit and fellow Marietta resident Richard Young, 74, came to the game early to snag one of the more than 60 new VIP seats with backs, located in front of the new press box. They were pleasantly surprised to find there was no additional charge to sit there.
"I'd be willing to pay a premium to sit in seats like this," Dimit said.
Young said the difference between the stadium this year and last is like the "difference between daylight and dark." One of the most impressive aspects, he said, is the facade on the new building.
"That's impressive when you come across that (Williamstown) bridge," he said.
Marietta High School senior Matt Roberts said the stadium looks more attractive and "up-to-date" than it did last year.
"They're (the renovations) a lot better than what I expected," he said.
Marietta resident Alicia Hunt, 23, said she found it easier to enter the renovated stadium using her roller/walker device. Other people praised the addition of handrails on the steps between bleachers.
"It's more handicap-accessible," Hunt said.
Andrea Kostelac, 38, of Marietta was at the game because she has two children in the Marietta High School Wall of Sound. A band member when she went to MHS as well, Kostelac said the upgrades have "been a long time coming."
"I think it looks nice," she said. "They did a good job with it."
The stadium has gotten positive reviews from Tiger football players as well, said MHS Coach Bob Springer.
"They are all excited about it. They think it's one of the better facilities out there," he said.
With the college team getting its own locker room, the Tigers have inherited the Pioneers' previous locker room across the street. The high school team also has access to the press box and all common areas of the facility.
Springer, a former member of Marietta College's board of trustees, praised the efforts of Joe Chlapaty, whose family committed $2.6 million to the stadium project at the alma mater of his son. Keith Chlapaty played for the Pioneers under legendary coach Gene Epley.