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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Football’s days are numbered at Albi, but some fans aren’t ready to give up on aging facility

Under the Friday night lights at Joseph A. Albi Stadium, Craig Gerlack can be found in his regular seat in the upper level on the press box side, sitting next to his track coach, Joe Schauble. Schauble hasn’t been Gerlack’s coach for a while – Gerlack graduated North Central High School in 1980, but Gerlack was an assistant coach in football, wrestling and track at North Central from 1982-’85, and over the years their relationship deepened to a friendship that often finds them sitting in the stands at Albi, reminiscing and taking in a game.

Mark Richard and Eric Sawyer: Advisory Option B is better for Spokane’s future

Joe Albi Stadium has decayed to the point of no return. The infrastructure is crumbling and it has outlived its useful life. Local high school sports doesn’t draw enough fans to justify its seating capacity and because the stadium is so run-down and isolated, attracting other programs and events is not realistic. The only affordable option is to tear it down and build a new, right-sized stadium. A stadium at each of the high schools is not a feasible alternative and would be resisted in most neighborhoods. Of real concern, the cost of the upgrades at each school would far exceed building a single new stadium. So, where do we put this new stadium? The City of Spokane Advisory Measure asks voters to decide between two options:

Youth football, downtown Spokane stadium in spotlight amid concerns about head injuries

The revelation this week that former Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy prompted increased scrutiny about the safety of the high-impact sport on young players. Coaches say they’re doing everything possible to limit contact, a recommendation of experts, but what could it mean for a downtown facility that would host a sport that has seen a decline in popularity?