The Neshaminy School District plans to undertake an extensive renovation project for the high school’s aging athletic facilities.
The Middletown Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its Tuesday evening meeting to approve the preliminary and final land layout for the district plan.
Paul Meehan, Neshaminy’s administration manager, told supervisors that the existing sports complex was aging and conditions on the pitch were deteriorating.
Neshaminy High School athletics director Lisa Pennington said in a video presentation to township officials that her staff face ‘challenges’ as they work to organize events due to the impacts weather and damage to the terrain.
In previous meetings, the school board has spoken of the sometimes poor conditions of the existing football, baseball, and multipurpose fields that are on what is commonly known as Heartbreak Ridge on the high school’s Middletown Township campus.
The sports complex at the high school site dates back to the 1950s, and bleachers were added in 1963. Over the decades, additional improvements were made, such as a synthetic track, new scoreboards, energy-efficient lighting and a new sound system.
The neighborhood one current plan is to renovate the sports complex. The football field at Harry E. Franks Stadium will be converted to grass, the baseball field will be converted to grass, the football practice field and multipurpose field will be converted to grass, and the tennis courts will be redone and expanded from of six courts. at eight. In addition, the bleachers will be repaired, the concession stand will be renovated, a new entrance plaza will be built, the press box will be redesigned, changing rooms for two teams will be added and there will be an expansion of the toilets.
Pennington said the upgrades will allow for greater usage, including by gym classes.
District officials said the work will also improve drainage and create an underground stormwater system.
Last September, district officials estimated the project would cost just over $13 million.
The district expects construction to begin by the summer, with graduation and other events at the stadium expected to continue until work begins.
District officials expect the project to open in phases and be completed in 2023.
The school district has been planning to renovate the stadium complex for several years. In May 2021, a facility survey was completed and the school board and district began formulating their plan.
For several years there have been calls for the district to upgrade its sports facilities.
Nearly 1,400 people have signed a Petition 2019 calling for the improvement of the high school grounds and the installation of grass.
“There have been many games each season that have been canceled or postponed over the past few years due to poor conditions at our grounds. We have moved home matches to the opponent’s grass pitches to ensure matches are played on safe and playable surfaces. This can no longer be considered acceptable,” the petition read.