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State College Area School Board Moving Forward with Memorial Field Renovations

by on October 22, 2012 6:00 AM

Updated at 12: 13 a.m.

Before much discussion ensued regarding future updates to Memorial Field, the State College Area School District Board of Directors passed action items including a motion to advertise bids for the demolition of a portion of the East Bleachers at Memorial Field and approved the contract for the Educational Planner. 

Brainspaces, Inc., was awarded an Educational Planner contract with the district, at a price of $78,000.

After approving a motion to open bids for asbestos removal at Panorama Village, a project that is planned to start in January, conversation turned once again to Memorial Field. 

Ed Poprik, Director of Physical Plant, said he expects a good crowd on Friday night for the State High football team's home game and that a lot of changes won't be made. The East Bleachers were separated completely last week amid safety concerns. 

The sinkhole has always been underneath the stadium, through three meetings officials have said, 'it's nothing new.' Now, however, as the turf nears the end of its useful life, school officials have to do something about it. 

Poprik gave recommendations to the board at the regular meeting on Monday and said that the south section of the East Bleachers will open on Tuesday to be timely for the District 6 soccer playoffs. Temporary bracing will be added to the fence at the West Bleachers, as the fence has since deteriorated, causing safety concerns.

State College Borough Director of Public Works, Mark Whitfield, said the Borough remains committed to repairing the sinkhole underneath the field. There will be no cost to the district for the Borough to do the work, he said.

"This will be the fifth sinkhole we've worked on, it's just a little bit deeper," Whitfield said.

The plan is to fill the sinkhole with limestone to make the subsurface more porous and therefore allowing to the field to drain much faster when it floods, Whitfield said. If the West Bleacher and sinkhole remediation projects are completed during the 2013 calendar year as expected, significant portions of the turf playing surface will be disturbed.

The overall recommendation from the administration is that the board authorize the West Bleacher project and field surface replacement, while endorsing the State College Borough sinkhole repair, and deferring the storm water detention and Fairmount Ave. locker rooms. The costs for these recommendations are approximately $2.7 million, rather than the original $4.5 million. Action could be taken on either Nov. 12 or 26.

At 6 a.m. on Monday:

When safety concerns forced State College Area School District officials to close the East Bleachers in Memorial Field, they quickly took action and separated the bleachers completely last week. 

During the regular board meeting on Monday night, the Board of Directors will vote on a motion to approve the request to grant permission to advertise and bid the demolition of a portion of the East bleachers.

According to the update to be presented board, on Oct. 19 a contractor was progressing on work to weld new railing at the end of the usable section.  

Chain link fencing will be installed to match the existing condition and is expected to be up by the end of the day on Monday, district officials said. The East Bleachers will be secured before an inspection for an occupancy permit, which according to officials could open the south portion of bleachers by Wednesday.

The project was brought to fruition through the help of the Centre Region Code office, as representatives visited the site and offered "an expedited review of drawings," school officials said. 

At the board meeting on Monday night, Tom Skibinski from Crawford Palumbo Skibinski will present an updated version of the West Bleacher project plan. The estimated cost for the entire plan is currently set at $2,043,602. Skibinski will outline a table of costs for the project on Monday evening. 

If authorized, the project bids on the project would open in coming months and construction would begin as weather allows. Completion for the bleacher portion of the project is planned for August 2013, district officials said. 

Public Works Director Mark Whitfield will be in attendance to address making necessary repairs to the sinkhole underneath the stadium. He discussed a few potential options at Borough Council's work session. 

There will also be a motion presented to approve the Educational Planner Contract proposed and reviewed at the meeting on Oc. 8.

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. at 131 W. Nittany Ave.

Board Facility Update 10-22-12

Related coverage: 


Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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