ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - With the cut of a ribbon the long wait for the Westside was over.
Thousands of fans poured into the Albuquerque Public School district's new $38 million Westside Sports Complex to see the venue's inaugural game. Community Stadium played host Wednesday to an East vs. West clash of Manzano High School against Volcano Vista High School.
Appropriately enough, the west side of the stadium's bowl was packed with fans from the west side school, Volcano Vista.
The 7,000-seat Community Stadium is APS' third and the district's first new football stadium since Wilson Stadium was built in 1963.
Plans for a Westside stadium had faced lengthy delays with APS changing the location twice before settling on a site north of Interstate 40 off of Atrisco Vista Boulevard NW.
"When we were freshmen they told us that they're going to build it, and everyone's like no, Albuquerque's not going to do it in time," said Volcano Vista senior Brandie Mitchell. "Then when we found out it was open, we got [loco] and our whole student section got [loco] so we're happy it's here."
The Westside Sports Complex also includes an attached 2,600-seat track and field facility.
While all APS high school teams will play games at Community Stadium, APS Superintendent Winston Brooks says Westside schools benefit the most.
"It finally allows those students and their families a place they can call home," Brooks said.
Wednesday's game lived up to the hype surrounding the opening of a new stadium and the start of a new high school football season.
Manzano took a 10-0 lead into halftime before Volcano Vista rallied late to take a 14-10 lead appearing to seal the game up. But Manzano drove down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard pass on fourth down with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
The tight finish is just the first of seven games set to take place at Community Stadium through Saturday. All APS varsity teams but La Cueva High School will start their seasons at the Westside Sports Complex.
The week of games will give be the first test of whether a major neighborhood concern, noise, will be a big issue. APS designed the new football stadium in a bowl shape in an attempt to cut down on noise.
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