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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Originally known as Varsity Field, Greene-Harbison Stadium in Boiling Springs, NC has received many upgrades since it was completed in 1990. The facility is home to both the men's and women's soccer teams at Gardner-Webb, and has a capacity of 800, with additional seating on the grass in front of and around the grandstand. The lighting was added in 2004, which allowed the Bulldogs to begin playing night games, while the electronic scoreboard was added in 2005, and the grandstand and press box were added in 2007. Unfortunately there isn't much else here in terms of amenities, and attendance is pretty low as a result.
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There are no concessions offered at Greene-Harbison Stadium, but the field is wide open for entry, so you could bring in your own food and drinks easily enough.
The grandstand consists of metal bleachers without chair backs, and even though it is not that old, it feels very dated. For example, there is a sign next to the grandstand honoring Jordan Traylor, a former Bulldog soccer player who died unexpectedly in 2008. His number was retired and the sign erected in 2009, but already it is faded, worn, and barely legible - it is unfortunate that Gardner-Webb lacks the funds, or perhaps the willingness, to keep up with this type of basic maintenance.
In addition to the lack of concessions at Greene-Harbison Stadium, there are also no restrooms. You can use the bathrooms across the street at the observatory, which technically isn't that much of a walk, but it is hard to draw a good crowd when you don't even offer these two basic creature comforts. They do have Gardner-Webb flags flying atop the grandstand, though, which is nice, and the Bulldogs do have cool uniforms. See a video of the stadium here:
There really isn't much in Boiling Springs besides the university, which isn't surprising given a population of around five thousand. The student body may even be most of that, as the official enrollment is around the same number (although certainly at least a few students live outside of town).
There are multiple fast food joints dotted around, but only a couple sit-down restaurants, all of which are on Main Street. El Acapulco is your basic Mexican restaurant, and is fairly popular with the locals, as is Snack Shop Family Restaurant, your typical small town diner. These are both fine if you need a bite to eat, but certainly aren't sports bars.
The only hotel in town is AmericInn Lodge & Suites, whose rates are a little on the high side. There also aren't any attractions in town, save for tubing on the nearby Broad River, or hiking along it. To find other attractions, or additional hotels, you'll need to head over to Shelby, about 8-10 miles to the east.
Occasionally there is a Gardner-Webb football game going on around the same time as a soccer game ( Ernest W. Spangler Stadium is right next to Greene-Harbison Stadium). But even on those days, when there's lots of activity and lots of people tailgating right around the soccer field, very few of them bother to walk over to watch the soccer game, which speaks volumes about the venue.
Attendance at Gardner-Webb soccer games averages between 150 and 200, which is less than one-quarter full. Only a few fans wear team gear, and they are a tough crowd, almost critical of their team. During special events like Family Weekend you might see a better showing, but in general the fans are rather ho-hum, with not much energy.
According to the university, Greene-Harbison Stadium is officially located in Boiling Springs, but Google and Mapquest won't recognize it unless you put the address in Shelby, NC instead. The soccer field isn't difficult to get to, but it is very out of the way, since the town isn't close to any major cities.
There is free parking right across the street from Greene-Harbison Stadium (at the observatory), and if a football game isn't going on, you can probably park in those lots as well. As you approach the stadium, technically the entrance is on the south side, but you can come in on the north side as well. There are no bathrooms near the grandstand, but you can walk across the street. There are also no ramps into the grandstand, so those with special needs would just sit on the grass.
There is no cost to see a game at Greene-Harbison Stadium, but a dated facility, no concessions, no bathrooms, very low attendance, and very little energy doesn't offer much of a draw. Also the venue is a bit off the beaten path, so probably would take a long time to get to.
The Bulldogs do have cool uniforms, but this is a stadium I would take a pass on, even if you are an alum. Probably the only reason to see a game here is if your team is playing Gardner-Webb that day, or if you have a relative on the team.
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