Sep 30, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
After three years of playing its home games on gridirons all over the county, the Liverpool High School football team will kick off against Baldwinsville at 7 p.m. Friday Sept. 17 on the newly renovated LHS stadium on Wetzel Road.
The new artificial turf uses sand and crumb rubber infill to create a playing surface as safe as a natural grass surface – perhaps even safer in cold conditions.
On Aug. 24, Mark Potter, the school district’s executive director of secondary education, led an informal walk-through at the new facility for about 40 coaches, district staffers and school board members. Potter was Liverpool’s acting athletic director for three years before Athletic Director George Mangicaro won full reinstatement after a long and controversial suspension.
New turf, track and bleachers
Potter proudly pointed to the brand new eight-lane track, the padded synthetic turf and aluminum bleachers capable of seating more than 2,250 spectators who will enjoy improved sight lines.
The field’s infilled turf is manufactured to resemble natural grass and is stabilized by base materials cushioning the playing surface. Such turf is more durable and convenient than natural grass, which needs constant maintenance.
Potter noted that, on Aug. 22, the Syracuse area was drenched by an estimated four inches of rain.
“Since our new field drains 10 inches an hour, that heavy rain just went right through it,” he reported. “It wasn’t even an issue.”
School Superintendent Richard “Nick” Johns told the Aug. 24 stadium visitors that the project was completed on time and came in $1 million under-budget.
“This is the nicest track I’ve ever seen,” Johns said, “and I’ve replaced plenty of tracks in my career.” The track and field comes with a 10-year warranty, “which is rare,” he added.
No new taxes needed
The new stadium got its start on Feb. 26, 2009. That day – after twice rejecting more expensive stadium projects in 2008 – school district residents approved a $5.8 million renovation and turf project by a vote of 3,684 to 1,474. The overwhelming yes vote was largely due to pre-referendum efforts of some 100 volunteers who worked to inform voters.
The 10-year-old artificial turf stadium had been declared unusable in December 2007 because the field’s surface bubbled after improper material was used as fill beneath the field in the late-1990s. The track, which had laid dormant since 2006, was uneven and unsafe for runners. The bleachers could not pass an insurance inspection code and failed to meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The district spent more than $100,000 each of the past three school years to transport its student athletes, cheerleaders and fans from Liverpool to other facilities.
“The public had to understand this project and how the project was being funded,” said school board member Joe Unangst, who also served on the board’s stadium committee. Unangst called the $5.8 million plan “frugal” and “effective.”
The renovation’s supporters reminded voters that the project would not raise taxes. Instead, school officials received $4.2 million in state aid, $1.575 million from a district capital reserve fund and would use $115,000 previously raised through events at the field.
Five Syracuse firms utilized
Bids were awarded by the school board on Aug. 5, 2009, and construction began later that summer. The new turf was laid down this past May. The LHS Marching Band performed on the new field on Aug. 29.
The project was overseen by Ashley McGraw Architects, while design work for the turf, track and bleachers was done by Appel Osborne Landscape Architecture. The structural engineer was Maureen Cregg of C&S Companies, the consulting engineers were from Sack and Associates and the electrical contractor was Ridley Electric. All five of those companies are from Syracuse.
Bovis Lend Lease, a world-wide construction project management firm with offices in Syracuse and Baldwinsville, made sure the contractor, Smith Companies from Whitney Point, met all design specifications.
“It was really a team effort,” said Pete Osborne, a Liverpool resident who’s a partner at Appel Osborne Landscape Architecture, “But we’ve done about 30 of these kinds of projects and the contractor who we’ve used before, Smith Companies, was really outstanding.”
Now that he’s back as athletic director, Mangicaro is spearheading a $500,000 fundraising project to pay for new lights and a new scoreboard with video screen. He has already raised $80,000 in sponsorships, he said.
Now if only the LHS Warriors can vanquish B’ville on Friday…