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SCASD to move forward with more renovations to Memorial Field

by on January 10, 2019 12:42 PM

STATE COLLEGE — After taking some time off from renovations to Memorial Field, State College Area School District said it is ready to start planning for Phase 2 of the project this winter and spring so that work can begin later this year. 

The district will be holding a project update for the community at 7 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the State High auditorium. The district is considering closing the field for the fall 2019 season in order to complete the project sooner and save money.

The board of directors approved Phase 2 on March 12 and it includes new home bleachers with additional seats and locker rooms beneath them, along with improved restrooms and entrances, a concession plaza, a concourse linking the home and away sides and better emergency access to the field. It will also include a memorial at the field to State High alumni who died while serving their country in the military. Different designs are being considered.

“Obviously we do not have a lot of space, but what we’d like to do on the parklet end of the facility, where we have the American flag, is to have some type of memorial that says ‘Hey this is Memorial Field and it is named that because …’ and have a space where we can state and recognize those fallen alums,” said district Superintendant Robert J. O’Donnell at the school board meeting on Jan. 7.

For the memorial, the district plans to utilize the Career and Technology Center’s Building and Construction and Architecture faculty members and students. The plan is to have the students and faculty take community input and develop a proposal to bring to the board of directors. Students from design classes will be at the Feb. 5 meeting to hear input from community members about the memorial.

O’Donnell said the memorial is a separate project and will not fit under the same timeline as the field.

The concession plaza is to be built on the site of the current Nittany Avenue Building. On May 8, 2017, the school board approved an option to demolish the former school and administrative building, but retain its basement as part of the $13 million final phase.

The project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021, but if the field is closed during the fall 2019 season, work could be finished by the fall of 2020. Preliminary estimates suggest the shorter timeline could save between $500,000 and $900,000.

Memorial Field renovations were originally planned to be put out for bidding in April, with some work beginning this past spring and summer, pausing for the fall and resuming in December, pausing again in fall 2019 and finishing in the spring of 2020.

In March, however, bidding was delayed to focus on projects already under way — the final phases of the State High project and renovations and new construction for three elementary schools. 

O'Donnell said at the time the district didn't have the staffing capacity to add Memorial Field to the mix. The high school and elementary school projects are expected to be completed this summer.

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