Denfeld History

Public Schools Stadium

Located on the Denfeld campus, Public Schools’ Stadium is a football, soccer and track stadium used by all of Duluth’s public schools. Its seating capacity is 3,000.

Before PSS was built, football games were held at the present-day site of Wade Municipal Stadium, then known as Athletic Park. PSS opened for football games in 1930; the first game was Denfeld vs. Morgan Park.

It was not unusual in the 1930s and ’40s for games between Denfeld and rival Duluth Central to draw between 5,000 and 10,000 people, with spectators standing all around the field.

The stadium was also the home field for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs football team in the late 1950s and early ’60s.

In the 1960s, light fixtures were added for night games, but the concrete standards blocked the three outside lanes of the running track. During meets, coaches were posted along the supports to prevent athletes from tumbling into the concrete abutments. By the 1970s, track meets were no longer held at PSS, and the track slowly eroded into dirt.

In 1991, Duluth’s three high school’s added ninth graders to their enrollment, increasing demand for field space. At the same time, soccer was also added as a varsity sport for boys and girls. From 1989 to 1999, the number of games played on the field increased from about 35 to 155.

The Public Schools Stadium Restoration Committee formed in 1994 and undertook patching, painting and cleaning of the facilities. In November of 1999, voters approved a $6.67 million referendum to rebuild the school district’s outdoor athletic facilities, including $3.8 million for improving PSS.

The new stadium eliminated the bleachers on the west side of the field to accommodate the new eight-lane running track. The east-side bleachers were built larger than the original bleachers to avoid a significant drop in seating capacity.

The project fell behind schedule and athletic directors had to scramble to schedule football and soccer games at other locations in 2000. Football games were played at UMD’s Grigg’s Field.

The stadium reopened for football in 2001, but the track was still not completed. A depression in its sub-surface caused further delays, keeping it from opening until 2004.

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