Comprehensive renovations to Crawford Stadium underway

Friday, Mar 08, 2019

The North Penn School District is undergoing a significant time as many wide scale renovation projects are currently in place throughout the district. One project that the district is looking at to start construction in the fall of 2019 is an extensive renovation to Crawford Stadium.

The plan for the stadium is a sweeping and thorough one with many different facets.

One of the things that the renovation includes is new field turf that’ll be an artificial surface. Renovating the stadium, and especially the field, has been a long time coming which was made evident this last fall. During the 18-19 football season, the team was forced to play their playoff games at away stadiums due to poor weather conditions.

“We want to be able to have our events here on North Penn and have a true home field advantage. The field would become unplayable with really bad weather and that was a concern. And that’s despite the best efforts of the grounds crew who work really hard to have good grass. The soil we have and the way the field doesn’t drain well makes it really hard to keep it playable when you have bad weather,” noted Superintendent Dr. Curt Dietrich.

In addition to new field turf, the size of the field will be expanded to make the field multipurpose and playable for all sports.

“We’ll have a wider turf field than we have right now because the specifications for sports like soccer have a wider field, and we want to have a multi-use field,” Dietrich said.
Along with upgrades to the field, there’ll also be renovations to the stands to make them handicap accessible. Instead of walking on the track to access the stands, people will come from behind the stands, walk under them, go up a walkway, and take their seats from there.

“That’s a little different, and I’ve been to stadiums like that where they’re accessed from behind the stands and then you walk underneath the stands and you come out in the center of the stands and you go up from there,” remarked Dietrich.

Other renovations include a eight lane track compared to the current six lane one, the addition of quite a few new restrooms, a brand new snack bar, new ticket booths, and a new press box. There’ll also be two team rooms.

“We’ll have two team rooms where whoever’s playing in the stadium can go during pregame and halftime. It’s not a full blown locker room, but it is a team room that has benches and a place to go during halftime,” said Dietrich.

All of these renovations require certain approvals and waivers that take time to obtain. One approval in particular regards water control and takes the longest to secure.

“The one that takes the most time is NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System). It’s the water control plan that’s necessary for what’s called impervious surface. When you have impervious surface put down, then you have to have a plan to show what you’re doing with the water. That one is the one that takes the most time, and then there are other municipal approvals that you have to get,” Dietrich explained.

Once the proper approvals and waivers are obtained, there needs to be time to meet with coaches and administrators to finalize the proper design for the renovation.

“We’ve been having an aggressive meeting schedule with the coaches and administrators and the Phys ed department about the facilities and what their needs are to design it properly,” said Dietrich.
Another factor that plays into the timeline is the fact that in order to complete the renovations, the work of multiple contractors is needed because the renovation plan is so sweeping and widespread.

“It’ll be multiple contractors because not the same contractor is likely to do the field turf compared to the grandstands because they’re different. And then you’ll need the contractor to actually build the team room and ticket booths and snack stand and press box,” commented Dietrich.

The district is looking at a reasonable timeline for all of the approvals and meetings. Currently, the plan is to start construction late October of 2019 and finish by spring of 2020 in time for graduation.

“We’re trying to have a responsible timeline. The latest thinking is that we can go to bid and have the bids from the contractors back and decide who has the most responsible bid, lowest bid to do the work, get that approved from the School Board. In the best case scenario, we could begin construction sometime in the latter part of October of this year. The goal is to be able to occupy for graduation in the spring of 2020, and we’re expecting to meet that.”

Of course, the biggest aspect that controls the timeline and has the ability to create complications is the weather. Although the district has already factored in lost time due to snow and extreme low temperatures, weather remains a fickle variable.

“The big unknown is weather. We built in lost time due to snow cover or extremely cold temperatures but if we were to have an unusual cold winter, it might make it more complicated to get it done on time,” said Dietrich.

With all of the talk about renovations to the district, there has been a lot of community input. As far as the stadium project goes, the feedback from the community has been positive.

“The feedback’s been positive. There have been people who have waited a long time to have that stadium work done,” remarked Dietrich.

Another defining thing for any renovation or major project is the question of how to finance it. For the renovation to Crawford Stadium, the finances will be taken from the capital reserve fund, meaning that the district will not have to borrow money for the project.

“Each year when we finish the year with our budgets, if there are some funds that have not been spent, we move those into capital reserve. The funds are reserved for capital expenditures, for things to improve your capital plant. We have the money in the capital reserve fund to be able to do the project, and we don’t have to borrow for it.”

The renovations to Crawford Stadium are currently underway along with talk and plans for other renovation projects throughout the district. With all the upcoming renovations, Dietrich notes that it’s important to do all of the work necessary and love it when it’s all complete.

“I think it’s important when you have this opportunity that you do it, and you’re going to love it. If we’re done with all of this work, we better love it. You need to do it right, and you need to love it,” said Dietrich regarding the renovations in place for the district.



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