Timeline for Revamped Memorial Field Released

The Abington School District-owned Memorial Field is slated to receive a $5 million upgrade; the rejuvenated field could be opened by August 2014.

Memorial Field — the former home of Abington graduations and current home of walkers and joggers — is slated to get an upgrade … and now there are some dates to work with.

Abington School District Assistant Superintendent Leigh Altadonna announced a proposed timeline for the plan approval and construction of the new elements of Memorial Field. The district entered into a 25-year lease agreement with Penn State Abington for the field, which is on Huntingdon Road between Susquehanna Road and Rosemont Lane, in August.

Rather than paying rent, the university will make about $5 million in upgrades to the facility. In return, Penn State Abington’s athletic teams will be able to practice and compete on the grounds. Penn State Abington Chancellor Karen Wiley Sandler said in August that the money would come from the college’s capital fund. 

The school board started discussing the possibilty of leasing the land to Penn State in December 2008.

According to Altadonna, the new field could be ready for use in August 2014. Prior to that, here’s what’s scheduled to happen:

  • March 13: Community meeting regarding the plan in the Abington School District board room
  • April 23/26: Abington Township Planning Commission/Land Development meeting
  • May 9: Abington Board of Commissioners meeting for project approval
  • July through August: Bidding Period for the project
  • Sept. 10: The school board awards construction contracts
  • October through July 2014: Construction period.

Some of the improvements to the property include the construction of an artificial turf field, new bleachers, a new track and the construction of a field house.

The lease may be terminated if the school district needs to use the site to build another elementary school. Superintendent Amy Sichel said Tuesday night that a small elementary school could be built to fit on the lower half of the field. Any “payback” would be based on where Penn State Abington spent money, not the amount of space lost, according to Abington School District Facilities Supervisor Stephen Saile.

Abington School District athletics will still be held at the field, as will community events like the 24-Hour Relay.

The school district will maintain the fields and Penn State will be responsible for trash pickup.

School board member Andrea Lawful-Trainer said that it is important to put signs up, notifying residents that the field will be going under construction. Sichel said signs will likely be posted after the township board of commissioners OKs the project.

Altadonna said it’s unlikely that traffic on Huntingdon Road would be affected by the construction. 

Mischa Arnosky February 28, 2013 at 05:27 PM
You're right. There was no mention of parking. In fact, they used the term "adequate" to describe the parking situation.
Lone Ranger February 28, 2013 at 05:38 PM
I'm with Chris. I do think the fields are ripe for the upgrades, but the parking needs to be addressed. There is limited parking as it is on the local streets as well as dangerous conditions with the disregard of the stop signs. No parking signs clearly mark the street along the fields but there always seem to be cars parked there for games. Somehow the cars parked in front the hospital get tickets but never the 20 cars blocking traffic in a no parking zone next to the field. Amazing once a couple million dollars gets flashed and those problems that we tax payers complain about seem to get forgotten about! See you at the meetings!
chris February 28, 2013 at 08:11 PM
my wife and 2 neighbors been complaining to the township for years. nothing gets addressed. its all about safety as we watch these cars race down the street with no room on either side of the street. countless times ive witnessed cars nearly missing kids crossing the street to goto their games. one car did a 180 just to stop in time. i've sent that video to our district rep too and never even got a response. when there is just 1 game going on its a mad house!! just figuring if the top field and lower field both have something going on oh man.... Lone, My daughter has gotten tickets when parked legally on huntingdon road, but when we call about these cars and cars blocking our driveway.. the cops take the time to STOP all games and ask them to move their cars. its like really?!?! Just ticket them and maybe after paying 30 each time they will stop.
chris February 28, 2013 at 08:14 PM
LOL... You will know who i am if they allow us to speak. Trust me their going to get a ear full. Dont get me wrong i love watching the games there. But something has to be done about parking. the lower field has a HUGE portion of the field that is never used.
Lone Ranger February 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Mischa, thank you for writing this and informing the area about this project. I live right up the street and use the track and fields often. Im looking forward to taking advantage of the new fields, but not being taken advantage of so that A.S.D. and PSU Abington get what they need at our expense. I laugh at the word adequate since the parking is used for PSU students already and that in combination of a new facility which will surely bring new traffic to the area. Those plans don't have "adequate" description for parking!


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