WADSWORTH — The renovation of Art Wright Stadium, a project two decades in the making, will be finished next year, Wadsworth Schools officials say.
School board Vice President Chuck Pfeister said the project, started in the early 1990s, should be complete for the 2013-14 school year.
“This fall for the football and soccer season, the construction should be done and complete,” Pfeister said.
The final stage of the project includes replacing the visitor’s side bleachers and installing synthetic turf.
Other improvements on the Grandview Avenue facility include adding a restroom, scoreboard and visitor’s press box.
Pfeister said he was a part of a community meeting in the early 1990s to decide whether to improve the stadium. He wasn’t a school board member yet, but he said he still supported Wadsworth schools and sports.
Since 1999, the stadium has seen new home bleachers, new speakers and two field houses installed.
He said the new improvements are necessary.
“The bleachers are in bad shape,” said Pfeister, a school board member since 2000. “During my first term, I remember thinking, ‘Is this thing safe?’”
In additional to structural improvements, he said the bleachers will seat 2,500 people, compared with the current 1,600.
With more capacity, the county required the stadium to have an additional bathroom, too.
The new turf field will have better storm water management and will be flat.
Now the northeast corner is four feet higher than the southwest corner, Pfeister said.
Pfeister said the board recently selected Ruhlin Co., of Sharon Township as architect for the final renovations.
“They presented the best picture, and the truth is, they came in under budget a bit,” he said.
Wadsworth Schools Treasurer Doug Beeman said Ruhlin will be paid $168,000 for its architectural work. The price for construction will be decided in January or February.
He said the money will come from the Medina County sales tax, a community foundation that raised $375,000 and savings from the construction of the new high school and elementary schools.
Overall, those three sources total almost $4.9 million.
“That will cover it,” Beeman said.
Pfeister said he wanted to thank taxpayers, whether or not they support the improvements.
“I’m grateful to all the taxpayers for fronting the bill for this,” he said. “At the end, I think everyone will be really proud of what we have.”
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.