Boardman school officials break ground to provide ...
BY ROBERT CONNELLY
Students, coaches, school and booster club officials and donors gathered at Spartan Stadium on Friday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the turf section of the new stadium.
The ceremony took place at the current practice field for the football team that sits on the campus of Boardman High School.
Bill Bonte, booster club president, said the stands and field were built 20 years ago “with a stadium in mind.”
Bonte, a booster club member for 20 years, said the artificial-turf section alone will cost $350,000. The overall cost of the turf project, including
installation, is nearly $700,000.
United Civil Contractors of Hubbard will do the installation and the completion is expected sometime between mid-August and the beginning of September.
The overall project will total $3.7 million to replace the 1930s-era stadium located off Market Street behind Center Middle School.
Tim Saxton, director of operations for Boardman schools, said the stadium is part of their goal to turn Boardman into more of a college campus atmosphere, with all the schools at one location with the stadiums there as well. The new football stadium will sit between tennis courts and a baseball field.
He said construction is expected to begin Monday, and equipment for the construction could be seen Friday morning at the ceremony.
The ceremony featured a marching band performance, a cheerleader routine featuring the “Spartan Rumble” and Boardman athletes and coaches.
Saxton said the turf portion adds credibility and momentum to the project that has been in the works for years. The booster club took over the new stadium initiative a few years ago. Two previous bond issues failed that would have funded a new stadium.
“The funding wasn’t there,” Bonte said of previous attempts. “Now hopefully, we can accomplish what we couldn’t ... I feel wonderful because we’ve accomplished so much” with the turf, he said.
Crews will have to lay down protection for the track and then begin tearing up the grass to turn it into a turf field to be used by the football, baseball, soccer, and softball teams as well as the marching band.
Now the focus turns to larger donors for the new stands to seat about 7,000, a digital scoreboard and visiting team’s locker room. Saxton previously has said boosters will work in small groups and meet with area businesses to find donors. Bonte said with the current donations and pledges from donors, either later this year or as far as three years from now, they are close to raising $1.5 million.
Boardman Board of Education officials as well as school officials took part in the shovel ceremony of breaking the ground. Representatives from donors also participated from Home Savings and Loan Co., Sweeney Auto Group, Cortland Banks, Farmers Bank, Boardman Gridiron Club, and the Smith and Beard families.
Bonte said a few of those donors have selected naming rights, such as Home Savings and Loan entrance. Cortland Banks was honored in a check presentation ceremony Tuesday for its contribution of $20,000, and both Saxton and Bonte said its naming rights are still being worked on.
Once the turf field is finished in late summer, the junior varsity and freshman football teams will play their games on it as well as physical-education classes being able to use the facility.