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Memorial Field Renovations Likely to Be Delayed

by on February 14, 2018 3:28 PM

Design plans are almost ready for approval, but work on the final round of renovations to Memorial Field is unlikely to begin this summer as initially planned. 

State College Area School District administrators this week recommended that the school board vote on the final design documents at the board's regular meeting on Feb. 26, but, if approved, delay releasing them for bidding for six to 12 months.

Finance and Operations Officer Randy Brown said the main reason for recommending the delay is to focus on the multiple major construction projects the district already has under way. 

Though the new State High building opened in January, two phases remain for the project with major work still to take place on the north and south campus before completion in the summer of 2019.  Work also recently began on renovations and new construction at Corl Street and Radio Park elementary schools and the construction of a new school -- Spring Creek Elementary -- which will merge Houserville and Lemont elementary schools at the Houserville site.

"The rationale is we’re concerned about managing our human resources demand for these multiple projects, our ability to do that successfully," Brown said. "We want to do the best job that we can."

Brown said he and Ed Poprik, director of physical plant, have discussed the possibility of pushing back the timeline for several months, and as the district prepared to open the first phase of the State High project, the significant need for staff became clear.

The original schedule called for the Memorial Field project to be bid in April with bids awarded in May. Some work would have begun in the summer and paused in the fall, with construction resuming in December, pausing again in fall 2019 and finishing in the spring of 2020. 

Poprik said the phasing of the work will now depend on when the project is put out for bid.

The delay also will provide additional time for fundraising for the renovation.

"We have some significant needs around the district in the athletic realm," Brown said. "If we are able to increase our fundraising efforts for this project then maybe there will be additional resources available for other priorities."

The overall plans for the second and final phase of renovations to Memorial Field include new locker rooms, restrooms, pedestrian plazas, east-side seating and concessions, among the major elements. As part of the work, the district's Nittany Avenue building, which is no longer in use, will be demolished but the basement will be preserved and repurposed.

Four designated locker rooms for home and visiting teams are planned under the home bleachers and spectator plaza, which will give flexibility for multiple practices or games in a single day.

Architectural firm Weber Murphy Fox estimates that the renovation cost will be $9,306,941, with an estimated $243,945 for a basement classroom alternate bid. Massaro Construction Management Services estimates $10,385,000, with the classroom alternate adding $156,056. Massaro also is overseeing the State High and elementary school projects.

Brown said that the renovation planning for Memorial Field had moved forward quickly because of "disrepair and lack of attention over the last couple decades."

"There has been somewhat of an urgency to get there, and we’re not saying there’s not an urgency anymore," he said.

Engineers have analyzed the stadium and found it to be structurally sound, Brown said.

"We have not been concerned about any lack of stability that should cause us to close this facility or speed this process even further," he said, adding that if any issues were to arise and different schedule would be brought to the board.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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