Content courtesy of the Trib HSSN:
Anyone near Fridley Field in Hampton lately may have noticed construction. By the time fall sports roll around in a month, it will have the look and feel of a new outdoor facility.
The field turf will be new, as well as the track. Additionally, the scoreboard will be changing locations. The turf will be undergoing a change for the first time in 11 years. But a full-scale replacement of the track has been a much longer time in the making.
“The last time we did the track, we just had it re-sprayed,” athletic director Bill Cardone said. “It was around the same time we did the field. When they put the original track in, I can’t remember when that was. We have never gone down that far to replace the base of the track.”
Because of the seemingly new venture of replacing something much older, Cardone said the decision makers did not want to skimp on the quality of its rubberized surface. The district brought in a company to core bore and provide an assessment of the ground beneath the track to ensure structural integrity before laying the asphalt.
“We’re putting one of the best surfaces down,” he said of the layer of rubber that sits over asphalt before being spray-coated. “One of the things we felt was if we’re going to make the investment, this is the time to do it and make it last.”
The projects are part of the district’s capital improvement program.
“Our business manager, Jeff Kline, does a great job with that,” Cardone said. “As does our facility committee. And our school board and superintendent has always been on board with continued improvement of the athletic programs. It’s worked out real good.”
The frequently used field turf, which serves much more than just the football team, which lasts not much longer than a decade, Cardone said.
“Some (schools) might have more turf fields than others, so you might not get that kind of wear and tear,” he said. “But what we’ve always believed in is the field is for our athletes and WPIAL athletes, and we have the community highly involved. Youth soccer, football and lacrosse, they play there too.”
As of last week, the track had been dug down to the asphalt parts and structure was complete, and the pad underneath the turf was down as well. The renovation is expected to be completed for fall sports.
The decision was made to relocate the scoreboard from the end zone closest to the locker rooms to the left of the flag pole and field house. Though Cardone said he hadn’t fielded any complaints about its former location, there would be a better place for it, particularly with the recent addition of ad space and the prospect of future renovations near its former place.
“One of the things I wanted to do was increase the visibility and vantage points from the stands for people to see it. We’ve added some advertising panels. We’ve always advertised, but now we can a little more.
“Our field house sits in the (current) area, too. We might want to expand the field house in the future. We felt like if that was going to occur, now would be the time to move the scoreboard when we’re already in construction.”