For decades, football nights in Philipsburg meant gathering at Memorial Field.
All that has changed.
Philipsburg-Osceola has a new hub for its events, and it’s right in the backyard.
In October, P-O saw the last football game played at Memorial Field. The first on the completed sports complex behind the high school in Curtis Park was the Oct. 20 game against Clearfield.
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The new football field is just part of the package. The complex can host track events and soccer. There’s also a new softball field. There is state-of-the-art LED lighting and a new concession stand. The field itself is artificial turf instead of the prone-to-swampiness grass at the old site.
It all came with a price tag. The district had a budget of $4 million to $6 million. The finished product was $5.5 million.
“We didn’t borrow and we didn’t raise taxes,” Superintendent Gregg Paladina said.
The project was under consideration for years. There were proposals to raise private donations to replace the field house or make other improvements — that morphed into a proposal to add the complex. The final decision on the bill was to use the P-O fund balance, the district’s savings account, which had been growing under the supervision of business Manager Mike Counte.
Paladina said the state doesn’t recommend a fund balance of more than 15-20 percent of the district’s budget.
P-O will continue to maintain Memorial Field, which the school district has owned since 1930, for practices and other events. One of the last events held at the field was a Clearfield and Centre County band competition where marching bands from Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and other schools joined P-O’s Mounties for a musical showdown.
Some other events have already moved to the new field. The 2017 commencement ceremonies were held at the new location, as was the last football game of the 2016 season, even though the complex hadn’t been completed.
“I’m happy with it,” Paladina said.
There’s one piece that isn’t perfect. The walkway and stairs from the high school down the hill to the field haven’t been opened. The area wasn’t done to compliance and hasn’t passed inspection yet. Paladina said the contractors are correcting that.