Project leaders give update on early design of Federal Way Memorial Stadium renovation

Federal Way Memorial Stadium will soon receive some much needed upgrades.

During a March 22 Federal Way Public Schools Board meeting, project leaders involved with the planning and design of the new stadium gave an update on the planned renovations.

Jerry Peterson, director of athletics and equity for the district, said the vision for the project is centered around safety and security while also trying to make sure the facility is equipped to welcome and serve the entirety of the community and all the schools in the area.

Federal Way Memorial Stadium was built in 1971, and at that time, it was a “gem of the Northwest,” Peterson said. The district and the design team are trying to bring the stadium back to that former glory, he added.

Peterson said he hopes the stadium will foster pride and ownership for students and communities from all the schools as it will be used for middle school sports events, high school sports events, high school graduations as well as regional and state sporting events in the future.

The stadium is being designed in a way similar to Anacortes’s Rice Field Athletic Complex, said Kris Stamon, the project manager for McGranahan, the architecture company helping design the renovated stadium. The Anacortes facility is built on a similar hill to what one side of Memorial Stadium sits on.

Stamon said there was an emphasis put on designing a welcoming entryway and gathering area before visitors of the stadium walk down and into the complex.

He said the design team was challenging a commonly used idea in high school stadium design in which the home section contains more seating capacity than the visitor’s side.

This did not necessarily make sense for how Federal Way schools would use the stadium as somewhat of a neutral field, Stamon said. They decided to keep the amount of seats equal with about 2,000 seats on each side. The current designs of the stadium include about 700 more seats than what is currently available.

The current design also includes parking lot repavement and lighting renovations as well as two separate entry ways for home and visiting spectators to respectively enter. Along with new field turf and surrounding track, the new stadium campus will require a stormwater retention feature currently planned to be behind the visitors’ grandstand.

The current design is still preliminary, but Stamon said the project’s construction is expected to begin in early 2023, with completion expected before fall 2023 — just in time for football season.