Memorial Field could be at full capacity for first State College home football game

The full seating capacity at Memorial Field for Friday’s State College Area High School home football opener could be a game-time decision.

Physical Plant Director Ed Poprik said he would not know until Friday afternoon if the west bleachers will be open for the game against Central Mountain, but he is optimistic.

Construction crews will be working Friday morning to try to get all the bleachers in place. Poprik said the focus has been on the pathways to and from the bleachers.

“There’s no need for seats if we can’t get people in and out,” he said.

The game will be held at Memorial Field whether or not the bleachers are completed.

Originally, the district planned to have substantial completion of the entire project by the first game, but the persistent rains and flooding through the first part of the summer created obstacles.

Portions of the project, like the sinkhole excavation and drainage system that caused the issue, and the turf and the temporary bleachers on the east side of the field, have been completed, but the west bleachers and brick walkway on Fraser Street still are in limbo. The total project cost about $3 million.

“I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to maintain our original calendar, but considering what we’ve been through and where we are today, I am happy that we’re in a position that we will be able to open up the seats,” he said.

While the west bleachers could be ready in time, the Fraser Street modifications will not.

Poprik said it won’t affect traffic flow because Fraser Street always is closed during home game nights, and crews will create openings in the fence to allow a ticket booth and an area for people to get through.

There has been no official word for substantial completion of the Fraser Street modifications, but Poprik said there is a planned field re-dedication Oct. 11.

“We’ve certainly set that as a kind of line in the sand,” he said.