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.