WELLSBORO The high school here may soon have a new "21st Century athletic complex" on the site of its current track and football field, said district Superintendent Chris Morral.
The board of directors of the Wellsboro Area Education Foundation, in partnership with the Wellsboro Area School District plan to raise the $5 million needed for the project through a capital campaign conducted by EHL Consulting Group, of Philadelphia.
According to Morral, the campaign "will be the first of many ambitious projects that align with the mission of the foundation; which is to raise and provide fundraising initiatives by encouraging support from individuals, businesses, and community foundations."
No taxpayer funding will be used to build the future complex, Morral added.
Morral said that the 50-year-old bleachers within the former athletic facility were condemned in 2011, and since then, local sports teams, extracurricular clubs and community events such as Relay for Life have been forced to play and perform with "inadequate facilities."
The press box building also was removed due to structural issues, he added.
"The Wellsboro Area Education Foundation sees the development of the new complex as a crucial component of the town's commitment to providing the highest quality recreational, athletic and educational opportunities for Wellsboro area students, families and residents," Morral said.
"The redevelopment of our athletic facility is one critical step towards improving the lives of students, teachers, parents and community members for many years to come," said Ferlin Patrick, president of the foundation. "This is a transformational project that will take a major priority in the coming months, and with the community's ongoing support, I am confident that our foundation will be able make a huge difference in the lives of children K-12, their families, and so many others."
The proposed Community Athletic Complex will include 1,500 new home seats and 500 new visitor seats, as well as a concession stand, restroom and team room for 40 to 50 players and a storage building and locker room for four to five officials.
The field will have a new synthetic playing surface for football.
The track will be a new synthetic six-lane running surface and there will be areas for high jump, long and triple jumps, pole vault and proper pit covers.
A new synthetic javelin runway, shotput area and discus cage also will be included.
Ticket booths will be drive up or walk through at the road between the high school and the district offices.
One ticket booth will be located at the visitors bleachers.
Lighting will be appropriate for evening field events such as soccer, football and track and field.
The complex also will have a new public address system, as well as a new and relocated scoreboard facing the visitor stands.
There also will be a new handicap area adjacent to the home-side main entrance, a new entry plaza, paved walks to connect home and visitor bleachers and the stadium and softball field, as well as new stairs from the administration parking lot to the softball field and entry plaza.
For the softball program, new grandstands for 50 to 100 people are proposed, as well as a storage building, press box and a 200-foot re-oriented softball field.
An 8-foot chain link fence behind the home plate area and dugouts, a batting tunnel, new dugouts, a water source at the field and storage areas for bats, balls and a pitching machine are also included.
The complex will be LEED-certified and support a range of extracurricular activities for the area's schools and community members.
"The campaign's $5 million goal includes costs directed at ensuring the complex's sustainability and long-term support, including reserves for the maintenance and endurance of the complex," Morral said.
The campaign will be chaired by Aaron Singer and Glenn Poirier, both longtime residents of Wellsboro and avid supporters of the town's athletic and artistic communities.
"It has been incredibly exciting to become involved in a project that represents a true partnership between the school district, the foundation, and Wellsboro community members," Morral said. "We are all committed to an open, transparent and an inclusive process for the duration of this initiative, and we want to involve the community every step of the way."
To learn more about this initiative contact Morral at 724-0303 or email him at email@example.com.