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Memorial Field Work Could Begin in Early 2013; SCASD Budget Forum Scheduled This Week

on February 28, 2012 5:38 AM

Construction on a bleacher-replacement project at Memorial Field could begin in early 2013, according to an school-administration timeline introduced Monday night.

The project, expected to cost in the $2.5 million range, would overhaul west-side bleachers at the Depression-era sports stadium, at West Nittany Avenue and South Fraser Street. It would add public restrooms, new walkways and updated seating for 950 spectators.

A portion of the west-side seats has been cordoned off for well more than a year, thanks to safety concerns. Officials with the State College Area School District, which owns the property, have yet to determine exactly how to pay for the planned improvements.

But school-board members have put an emphasis on private fundraising as a prime means to support the project. If it moves forward, it would mark the first step in an expected multi-phase, $15-million-to-$16-million overhaul of the whole stadium.

Th district could seek construction bids for the west-side work as soon as this summer, but that would push the construction process disruptively into the fall sports season, district facilities director Ed Poprik told the board Monday. He said the administration would rather seek bids late in the autumn, then have construction begin early in 2013.

That way, the construction process should be complete in plenty of time for the fall 2013 sports season. Poprik also has raised the prospect of coordinating the west-side-bleacher project with a field-surface-replacement effort there in 2013.

He said administrators will update the board as district plans undergo borough architecture-review and regional code-review processes this spring. Those processes could take a couple months.

Administrators will need final board approval before seeking bids for construction.

In other developments at the Monday-night board meeting, Superintendent Robert O'Donnell emphasized the district will host a community forum Thursday on the district's proposed budget for 2012-13.

It's scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the State High South Building, 650 Westerly Parkway. O'Donnell said district leaders will offer an overview of the budget, then break the session into smaller-group discussions to solicit input.

He said the audience will reconvene later in the evening for a large-group discussion. School leaders want to hear input from all comers, O'Donnell said.

Some highlights of the budget proposal are available in this earlier news report.

C-NET video coverage of the Monday board meeting is embedded below.

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