Switchbacks open new downtown stadium with a tie (web copy)

Switchbacks fans cheer for their team April 24, 2021, after they enter Weidner Field for its debut exhibition match.

NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Soccer Championships. Chiquis Rivera. Premier Lacrosse League. Justin Moore. Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club. These are just a few of the games and concert headliners Colorado Springs fans can look forward to at Weidner Field this year.

The 8,000 seat stadium will celebrate its grand opening May 21 with a Colorado Springs Switchbacks home game after constructing the stadium during the pandemic. But the team and stadium's leaders are not worried about COVID-19 dampening what they say will be energetic season.

With a capacity to seat 8,000 people, there are a lot of options when choosing where to sit at the new Weidner Field.

"We feel really confident, real comfortable, you know, with the kind of environment, the safe environment that we're creating," Nick Ragain, the club's president, said. "So we certainly feel that we have a great environment for the fans to come and watch a game in a safe place."

Crews clean the stadium regularly, automatic dispensers supply hand sanitizer, and masks are required in the venue, Nick Ragain said.

Fans can expect a nearly touchless experience in the stadium with automatic bathrooms, digital tickets and phone apps to order and pay for food, James Ragain, the club's vice president, said.

"When you get to the venue to when you leave, you basically don't touch anything except your seat or any food or merchandise purchase," James Ragain said.

Glass doors in club areas, concession stands and ticket areas allow for natural light and fresh air to pour into the stadium's indoor spaces.

"We're an outdoor venue," Nick Ragain said. "Even our indoor spaces open to the outdoors."

The season opener will operate at 50% capacity, a maximum of 4,000 people, Nick Ragain said.

Seating plans allow for social distancing. After May, the club will monitor the COVID-19 situation in Colorado and decide the level of capacity to allow in the stadium, James Ragain said.

The stadium's seating was also designed for different levels of access, from standing room only areas located behind the goals, to pricier club areas like the Phil Long Club where fans can sit in a section beside the players and gain access to the walkout corridor where the team accesses the locker room, Cody Costra, the club's communication manager, said.

"That space is gonna be so high energy," Nick Ragain said. 

The Founders VIP Club includes an all you can eat and drink buffet and the top floor, which houses the Sky Club, provides a bird's-eye-like view of the stadium along with windows facing the mountains, Costra said.

Switchbacks games will also feature fireworks, light shows that sync to the stadium's sound system and locally sourced food with the stadium's 6035 Hospitality catering, Costra said.

"People are gonna love it," Nick Ragain said. 

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@JessySnouwaert

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