Memorial Field Renovations
On March 12, 2018, the Board of School Directors approved the construction documents for the Memorial Field renovation project, but also approved a delay in the bidding of the project. The delay will allow the district to concentrate on advancing projects at the high school and at Corl Street, Radio Park and Spring Creek elementary schools.
The board is currently reviewing calendar options, with the delay expected to be around six to 12 months.
Since 2013, the State College Area School District has been renovating Memorial Field, the district’s main outdoor athletic facility and the anchor of its downtown campus.
On May 8, 2017 the SCASD Board of Directors unanimously approved Option B2, retaining the Nittany Avenue Building basement as part of the renovation’s final phase.
Keeping the basement will provide additional space, including needed storage space for athletic equipment. The Board previously had approved the Option B renovation design, which called for demolishing the former school and district office building and replacing it with a new field entrance and spectator plaza.
Instead of constructing a new plaza basement on the building’s site, the district now will use the existing stone walls as a shell. Approved after careful consideration, the choice provides 1,200 more square feet of storage space than Option B, and as much as 2,500 square feet of unfinished space for potential use, for only slightly more than the Option B estimate.
Option B2 also offers more flexibility for adding a classroom as a bid alternate at a later date, as well as in a location farther from a natural sinkhole under the east bleachers to lessen construction risks.
Additionally, the district administration is recommending the project include about 696 seats with backs in the east bleachers (middle three sections of home side), at a cost of $75 per seat. The intent is to increase the comfort and functionality of the east bleachers while making them more similar to the west side.
Details about previous project decisions can be found here.A community forum was be held Feb. 20 to update the community about Phase 2. See the presentation here.Latest Memorial Field News: Phase 2 Renovations Design ChosenOn Nov. 9, 2015, the SCASD Board of Directors approved a resolution to support the continued use of the downtown campus for athletic, physical education and other district functions, and to continue the renewal of the campus, including Memorial Field. The resolution reaffirmed that the field anchors the campus, but that its spectator seating and facilities for athletes and spectators remained “seriously deficient” and below Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association competition standards as well as federal, state and local guidelines for hygiene, accessibility and safety.
After the district issued a Request for Proposal for Phase 2 of the field’s renovations in 2015, the architectural firm of Weber Murphy Fox was hired on May 23, 2016. Subsequently, Weber Murphy Fox’s design team reviewed conditions at the field; talked with administrators, coaches, parents and other stakeholders for input; and on Nov. 28, 2016, presented two design concepts for the school board’s consideration.
Option A proposed to keep the Nittany Avenue Building, the former schoolhouse and district administrative center, and fully renovate the interior for locker rooms, public restrooms and coaches’ offices. It also called for replacing the existing home bleachers on the east side, developing plazas to connect the north and south entrances on the east side, building a ramp to the field next to the Nittany Avenue Building, and connecting the existing bleachers on the west side to a new concourse along the southern end zone.
Option B proposed demolishing the Nittany Avenue Building and replacing it with a new locker room facility that would be incorporated into the bleacher complex. Like the other option, it called for replacing the existing east side bleachers and linking the west bleachers to a new concourse.
Project estimates were close — $8,486,049 for Option A; $8,666,658 for Option B. Both options provided a capacity of 3,429 seats.
At the request of the Board Facilities and Grounds Committee, the design team further analyzed and quantified how the Nittany Avenue Building and a proposed attached “viewing plaza” would affect sight lines from the eastern bleachers. This issue was exacerbated by the request for a taller fence at the viewing area.
The analysis determined the building itself would have “minimal impact” on viewing angles, but constructing a plaza and fence would create “a major obstruction” for watching play at the southern end zone in the east corner. According to the initial Option A plans, the bleachers would have 417 obstructed seats for football and 1,059 obstructed seats for soccer. A redesigned plaza area for Option A lowered the obstructed seats to two for football and 90 for soccer.
Largely from the committee’s discussions, the district administration recommended Option B, in part because it would provide new facilities and greater design flexibility at almost the cost of retrofitting the Nittany Avenue Building. The recommendation also was in keeping with the Nov. 9, 2015 Board resolution that recommended the building’s eventual removal, citing the prohibitive cost of renovating it to modern standards. The Borough of State College declined an offer to take ownership of the build for free and move it to another site.
On January 9, 2017, the Board of Directors unanimously approved Option B.
Built in 1924, the Nittany Avenue Building is listed as a “contributing building” within a historic district. As such, it requires a specific process for demolition, including a public notice and a meeting with the State College Borough Historic Resources Commission. The property must be posted for 90 days; within that time, the notice, commission meeting and notification of adjacent neighbors must occur.
A community forum for feedback on the Memorial Field design process is tentatively planned for Feb. 20, 2017. The design process will have 30 percent, 60 percent and 90 percent reviews with the Board of School Directors.
Construction is expected to start in May 2018 and finish in December 2019, with new locker rooms and spectator restrooms ready for the 2020 football season.
Previous Renovations and Enhancements to Memorial Field starting in 2013Memorial Field is a 4,000 seat stadium originally constructed as a Works Project Administration Project from 1933-1937.
The facility serves as the primary outdoor athletic venue for the State College Area School District, hosting several athletic teams, physical education classes and many community organizations.
Phase 1 of this project is completed and consists of the following:
- West side wall reconstruction and 1500 new seats
- New entrance at corner of Fraser St. and West Nittany Ave.
- Reconstruction of Fraser St. sidewalk as brick memorial walk (Pave It Forward Brick naming campaign)
- Replacement of artificial turf
- Storm water management enhancements (provided by Borough of State College)
Borough of State CollegeSee how the project progressed through a series of photographs.
General Contractor: Mid-State Construction Inc.
Architects: Palumbo-Skibinski-Crawford Architects and Engineers