State College

Memorial Field project still expected to be ‘substantially’ done by late August

Rain has been the story of the Memorial Field bleacher construction project, but the work is still expected to be substantially completed before the field is needed for fall football games.

Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik said late spring and early summer storms have caused problems including a retaining wall collapse. The wall was going to be removed, but the June 27 storm knocked it down prematurely.

“Some of these storms were actually blowing pipes out of the ground they were so violent,” he said.

But Poprik said the construction team has been lucky in that it has not lost any equipment because of weather. The construction team has been taking precautions lately prior to forecasted storms.

The substantial completion date of the project is set for Aug. 23, which includes completion of the west end bleacher project and a temporary bleacher on the east side near the sinkhole.

State College already completed work on the sinkhole in May. The about $3 million project also includes a collection system under the field to route water to the sinkhole and a turf replacement.

The turf portion is scheduled to begin this week, which will send the project in a new direction.

“The project is going to start looking very different, very quickly in the next couple of weeks,” Poprik said.

Turf replacement completion is scheduled for Aug. 9, and the installation of the bleachers on both sides of the field should be done by Aug 21.

Work on the Fraser Street sidewalk will replace the concrete with brick, similar to the centennial walkway downtown, and the district will run a “buy-a-brick” campaign, selling engraved bricks to raise funds.

Football scrimmages are scheduled for late August, but Poprik said the field should be ready and the games could be moved if necessary. There are no scheduled varsity home games until September, after substantial completion.

School board President Penni Fishbaine said in spite of all the storms, the schedule for the project looks good. She added that though the project comes with a hefty price tag, it was a necessary one.

“This was to improve the safety of the field,” she said. “Obviously if we have sidewalks collapsing, it was important to improve the safety.”