WAHS athletic complex upgrades expected to be complete by 2015

Upgrades to the athletic complex at the Williamsport Area High School are expected to be ready for use by the school’s teams by 2015.

Vern McKissick, of McKissick Associates, detailed the work to be done for the upgrades, which is being funded by the district’s education foundation’s Return to Glory capital campaign, during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The project’s estimated cost is set at just under $3.58 million. In order to not disturb any athletic team, the project will be split into two phases, with work on the first beginning this summer.

McKissick explained that the first phase, which will include turning the high school’s C lot into an eight-lane track complex, will cost about $1.73 million. A grass field will be in the center of the track, and another athletic field also will be installed next to the track.

Bleacher seating for 400 people also will be installed around the track complex. The track and field team will use the current six-lane track around the football field for the upcoming season.

The estimated cost of the track installation will be $482,000.

Since the C lot is used as additional parking, McKissick said one of the sports fields directly below the high school tennis courts will be turned into a gravel parking lot. It shouldn’t affect much, as the additional field next to the track complex will replace it, McKissick said.

Construction of the track complex will take under one year to complete and will be ready for use by the start of the 2015 spring track and field season.

The second phase of the project, which will see upgrades to the football stadium, will cost about $1.85 million.

Installation of all-weather turf for both football and soccer teams will cost about $918,000.

McKissick said additional upgrades could be included in the project, such as new lighting at the football stadium at a later date, if the board wishes.

The stadium work will begin after the 2014 football season and should be complete by the beginning of the 2015 football season.

When asked by the board, McKissick said the track complex field could be used for junior varsity and middle school football games.

He also said although not included in the current project, there have been discussions about creating a path for pedestrians who are trying to access the track complex from the high school.

The upgrades are being funded by donations and pledges. The football stadium naming rights already have been sold for the campaign to Student Transportation of America Inc. for $500,000.