CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Board of Education members got a first-hand look at the new-and-improving Greenway Avenue Stadium when they took a tour Tuesday afternoon.
They liked what they saw.
New locker rooms are three times bigger than old locker rooms.
Bathrooms have more than twice as many toilets and sinks.
And the reconstructed entryway is beyond grand.
“That thing is just a castle,” said board member Jeff Metz. “It’s awesome. I wish we could have took everybody in there today, because you got to really get down in there to really appreciate it. It’s amazing.”
But almost three weeks after the start of football season, it’s still not done.
Contractors are working 10-hour days and Saturdays to try to complete Phase One of the $3.3 million project, which includes new home side stands, new bathrooms, locker rooms, and concession stands, Director of Facilities Vince Montana told board members Tuesday.
Revised target dates for completion are Oct. 1 for home side bleachers and bathrooms, and Oct. 15 for locker rooms and concession stands, Montana said.
Initially, administrators had hoped the project would be finished in time for the start of football season. The 74-year-old stadium’s concrete home side stands were demolished in March.
“The goal is to have the bleachers and rest rooms useable by the first of October,” said Montana. “The contractor’s committed to that, the subcontractor has committed to that. It’s doable. They have a lot to do.
“The remainder of the stadium will be completed two weeks after that. So the concession stands, the school stores, souvenir stands, visitors locker room. ... Honestly, they’re trying their best to have the home team locker room completed by the 15th of October. That may lag behind. The priority has always been to complete the bleachers first.”
Both Fort Hill and Allegany high school football teams have played games at Greenway this fall, with fans sitting in the visitor side bleachers while the new home stands are installed.
Despite a net loss of 25 seats — the original stadium had 2,645 seats; the new stadium has 2,620 — the new stadium is far more accessible than before. Twenty-two seats in the home side stands can accommodate a wheelchair, rest rooms are handicapped accessible and handicapped parking is being made available, Montana said.
School board member Mike Llewellyn toured the stadium last year before demolition began. The difference between then and now is “amazing,” he said.
“The visitor locker room was embarrassing,” Llewellyn said. “It was kind of even scary. Dungeon-like. I know there’s a lot of people out there who are anxious to see the completion of this project, but this is something that’s being done very well and very right. And I’d rather see it done very right than rushed through, because this thing is going to be there longer than I’m going to be alive. ... I think it’s great to have something that nice in Allegany County.”
Later Tuesday during a work session, the board learned that the Greenway Avenue Stadium Fund made $40,755 last year from the $1 surcharge on tickets for varsity football, soccer and track events, bringing the total to $244,259. A separate community fund, the non-profit Greenway Avenue Fundraising Committee, has received 262 donations for a total of $493,415.
“We’re counting on using every penny of that in this renovation,” Director of Finance Randy Bittinger said.
In other business during its work session and business meeting Tuesday, the board:
• Approved a request to spend $6,500 to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church so that parking spots can be made available to 26 Board of Education employees. Currently, the BOE has approximately 20 parking spots that are assigned to senior management. Approximately 80 employees work in the building.
• Approved a request to extend five-year lease agreements with the Human Resources Development Commission for Head Start centers located at Beall, Bel Air and Cash Valley elementary schools, and Westmar Middle School.
• Approved first-reading of a proposal to establish a Corollary Physical Education and Athletic policy to comply with a new state law. The policy would “give our kids with disabilities an opportunity to participate on teams,” said Tim Scaletta, supervisor of Athletics, Physical Education, and After School Programs.
Plans are to create coed bocce teams that would include both able-bodied and disabled students to compete interscholastically and, eventually, with other teams across the region.
• Recognized six elementary schools whose early childhood education programs have been fully validated by the Maryland State Department of Education. Representatives from Bel Air, Cash Valley, Cresaptown, Frost, Parkside and Westernport were acknowledged, as were representatives from the Kids’ Corner Child Care Program at Beall and Cash Valley.
Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at firstname.lastname@example.org.