FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When you get a new pair of shoes you walk around a bit to make them feel right, new golf clubs need a few swings to set in and the Van Wert Cougars needed to break in some new turf installed at Eggers Stadium on Friday.

They did so by letting quarterback Brylen Parker run all over the new turf, scoring four first-half touchdowns en route to a home-opening win over the Bath Wildcats.

But the turf is just one of the new features that fans got to see for the first time on Friday.

“It’s an unbelievable night for Cougar Pride,” said Van Wert Community Schools superintendent Mark Bagley. “To see our renovated and restored concrete in our stadium and restored Cougar Pride Wall which has been here since 1974… that has been awesome.”

Those additions are part of a renovation project for Eggerss Field, a Van Wert landmark that has kept watch over the city since 1936.

A $5 million bond to pay for the changes was approved via a vote in 2022.

“They (the football team) are humbled by what our community has done by approving the $5 million dollar bond for this project,” Bagley said.

Phase one was completed earlier this summer which included the turf, concrete repair and other aesthetic changes, but phases 2 and 3 will look to do much more.

Two things on the to-do list are adding extra bleachers for the Van Wert band and a solution for parking, among other projects that will live beneath the concrete bleachers.

“We still need to do our locker rooms, restrooms, new concessions stands underneath,” Bagley said. “In this south endzone, we’ll eventually have our band bleachers down here… there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Paying for the next phases will land partially on the shoulders of the Eggerss Stadium Renovation Committee and Legacy Committee as they explore naming rights options for certain parts of the stadium.

“We’re pretty early in the process, but we’ve already got four commitments,” said John White, a member of the Legacy Committee. “We’re looking to get out after this week and get more businesses and local people involved in the process.”

Ultimately Eggerss Stadium may have started as a project to stimulate the economy during the great depression, but it is still being loved generations later by small-town Van Wert.

“It’s just a small-town feel… there’s just a lot of pride in our town and in our community,” Bagley said.