The Lewiston-Porter School District kicked off the first phase of its $28.8 million capital improvement program this week by preparing to replace the natural surface of Blakeslee Football Stadium with artificial turf.
More than $1 million worth of work will be done to the football stadium this summer in hopes the Lewiston-Porter High School football team will be able to play its home games there this fall.
The new turf is designed to be kinder to players, with its capacity to absorb the impact of hard falls, and quickly drain water from the field so it doesn't puddle. School district officials say the turf can be played on even after a 10-inch rainfall.
The turf tab will run about $800,000.
Other stadium costs include the installation of new light poles and a refurbished running track that surrounds the football field. The track will be expanded from six to eight lanes.
"We are hoping to have the stadium ready by the end of September so our kids can play their home games there," said Alan Truesdale, superintendent of buildings and grounds.
"Our first four games have been scheduled away so we can play our home games on the new field. If everything works out, that's the way things will go," he said.
The first phase of the projects will cost $14 million and should be completed within the next year, he said.
The remaining $14.8 million in renovations -- phase two -- will be staggered over six years. The second phase includes the construction of a distinctive entryway and vestibule at the high school, school officials said.
The remainder of phase one calls for placing new roofs on the middle school and on the center building at the high school at an estimated cost of about $1.5 million, Truesdale said.
The projects also call for the construction of a $500,000 maintenance building north of the Community Resource Center, and the renovation of the resource center, which will include the installation of new windows and exterior wall panels.
A concession stand also will be constructed near the football stadium, along with a team building containing four locker rooms to accommodate home and visiting teams.
The west side of the resource center will be renovated and converted into administrative offices. The district has yet to decide what to do with the administrative building at the front of the Creek Road campus once it is vacated.
Interim School Superintendent Don W. Rappold has suggested the building might be leased to some organization or business, which would provide the district with new revenue. The resource center project is expected to cost about $1.8 million.
Other phase one projects include the construction of two baseball and two softball fields. The boys varsity baseball field and the girls varsity softball field will contain free-standing dugout shelters, bleachers and fencing.
For safety, the district also will have a two-lane road installed that will cross the breadth of the campus and provide access and exits to a new parking lot. Also, the number of entries and exits to the campus will be reduced from seven to three so the campus can be more easily closed down in an emergency.
Truesdale said the projects will be done this summer, during the year on second shifts when classes are not in session, and next summer.
District officials have been meeting with contractors to determine when various aspects of phase one can be worked on.
The work will have no impact on property taxes since the district will use the approximate $750,000 it will receive annually from the New York Power Authority and the 72 percent reimbursement it will receive from the state Education Department for construction costs, according to former School Board President David S. Schaubert.
The board awarded contracts last month to the following contractors to do the work: CATCO, site construction, $4.03 million; Walter S. Johnson Building Co., general construction, $6.33 million; Mollenburg-Betz, mechanical, $1.25 million; John W. Danforth Co., plumbing, $254,500; Ferguson Electric, electrical, $1.22 million; and Anastasi Trucking, $1 million.