Ground bro­ken on high school sta­dium

Ren­o­va­tions to in­clude ar­ti­fi­cial turf, all- weather track, LED light­ing

The Hamburg Area Item - - Front Page - By Laura E. Quain For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

The Schuylkill Val­ley School District cel­e­brated a mile­stone when they broke ground on their new sta­dium project at 6: 30 p. m. in the cur­rent sta­dium on May 22. The project is set to be com­pleted in Septem­ber 2017.

“This sta­dium is about 55 years old, so this is re­ally a long over­due mo­ment for the district. And it’s been a long­time get­ting here,” said Schuylkill Val­ley Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. War­ren F. Mata.

The ren­o­va­tions in­clude in­stal­la­tion of an ar­ti­fi­cial turf play­ing field for mul­ti­ple sports, an all­weather track sur­face, new LED light­ing, a press box and a new ticket booth en­trance. The sta­dium cur­rently has a grass field and one of the last two re­main- ing cin­der tracks in the county.

“I want to give you a sense of who that sta­dium is for. Of course, it’s for our stu­dents, our ath­letes, but it’s also for our com­mu­nity. If you’ve ever seen the front fields this time of year, we

have a lot of com­mu­nity ath­letic teams and they’re also go­ing to have ac­cess and use of this,” said Mata. “The turf it­self is much more durable so we don’t need to be as care­ful about it.”

The in­stal­la­tion of an all­weather track and reg­u­la­tion- size turf play­ing field will en­able in­creased use of the sta­dium fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date out­door ath­letic team field sports such as foot­ball, soc­cer, field hockey and lacrosse. “These are re­ally ex­cit­ing times for Schuylkill Val­ley,” said Schuylkill Val­ley School Board Pres­i­dent Kevin Rau­den­bush. “I’m cel­e­brat­ing my tenth year on the board and it was ten years ago when we started talk­ing about do­ing some­thing here at the sta­dium. And it’s fi- nally go­ing to hap­pen.”

The board voted in fa­vor of fund­ing the ini­tial phase of the project in Oc­to­ber 2016. Prior to that, the Schuylkill Val­ley Pan­ther Pride Sta­dium Com­mit­tee, formed in Novem­ber 2014, raised funds and com­mu­nity sup­port through so­lic­i­ta­tion of dig­i­tal score­board and sta­dium spon­sors, an­nual golf out­ing fundrais­ers, cus­tom t- shirt sales, per­son­al­ized brick paver or­ders for the new Pan­ther Pride Path- way, and var­i­ous in­di­vid­ual donor and ath­letic or­ga­ni­za­tion con­tri­bu­tions.

“The real thanks tonight for what’s hap­pen­ing goes to our Board of Di­rec­tors,” said Pres­i­dent of the Pan­ther Pride Sta­dium Com­mit­tee, Kel­lie But­sack. “We’ve been work­ing for the past year and a half or so fundrais­ing for this project but it was re­ally the school board who stepped up last fall and said ‘ We’re gonna back this and we’re gonna get it rolling.’ So re­ally the thanks goes to the School Board for ac­cel­er­at­ing this project.”

The com­mit­tee plans to con­tinue their ef­forts by rais­ing ad­di­tional and on­go­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port to fund a per­ma­nent field house for con­ces­sion, locker room and stor­age needs, as well as an­tic­i­pated main­te­nance, up­keep and fu­ture add- on needs for the project longterm.

The in­stal­la­tion of an all- weather track and reg­u­la­tion- size turf play­ing field will en­able in­creased use of the sta­dium fa­cil­i­ties.

LAURA E. QUAIN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Schuylkill Val­ley School District broke ground on their new sta­dium project at 6: 30p. m. in the cur­rent sta­dium on May 22. The project is set to be com­pleted in Septem­ber 2017.

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