SANDY — Firefighters won't be needed to stand among the fans at the first Real Salt Lake soccer game in the team's new stadium, RSL officials said.

A few months ago, there was speculation that the firefighters would be needed in case the fire notification system had to be left undone. However, Sandy fire officials signed off on fire safety on Sept. 16, said RSL project manager Mike Steele.

The speaker system also has been finished and is being tested regularly, RSL officials told the Sandy Planning Commission on a recent tour of the new structure. Neither the noise system nor 24-hour testing of the stadium lights has elicited complaints from surrounding neighborhoods.

Still unfinished for the first game will be one small bathroom on the stadium's south side and areas like the weight room for players and offices for RSL staff.

"Everything the fan touches is going to be operational," said RSL spokesman Trey Fitz-Gerald.

A planned trail running alongside a creek also will be unfinished because of a dispute with the property owner, Steele said. Construction of the trail, which had been a vital part of the stadium's parking plan, has now been turned over to Sandy City Parks and Recreation.

The fire-safety and speaker systems were completed in time despite delays caused by ongoing redrafts of stadium aspects such as a stage at the south end. Hundreds of workers and several contractors have worked through both hot summer weather and freezing winter snow to have the stadium complete in record time.

"We're excited," Steele said. "I'm very excited."

Sandy does not plan to have a major presence at the Oct. 9 opening, but Mayor Tom Dolan is working with RSL to schedule free open houses in the gleaming structure for Sandy residents.

"It is their facility, too," Dolan said.

Sandy officials also are looking forward to watching soccer games from the city's suite, which was offered as part of RSL's commitment to promote the municipality.

Sandy has helped fund the stadium with a $10 million loan, which it hopes will be repaid through deferred property taxes generated by the stadium. Taxes generated from hotels and tourism made up another $35 million of the stadium cost and RSL picked up the rest, bringing the structure's final cost to about $110 million.

The first game in the new stadium will be played against the New York City Red Bulls. To purchase tickets or see pictures of the finished stadium, visit realsaltlake.com.


E-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com