Rehabilitation no longer an option to new Charleroi stadium

| Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sometime this summer, the Charleroi Area School Board will decide whether the district's football stadium will be located in Charleroi or Fallowfield Township.

But if the stadium remains in Charleroi, it will involve new construction, not renovation of the 73-year-old facility, district Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko said.

"The cost is so prohibitive to renovate that it has to be new construction," Ferko said.

According to a preliminary analysis by Foreman Architects Engineers, a new stadium in Fallowfield would cost roughly $5.5 million, Ferko said. It would cost roughly $6 million to renovate the existing stadium, the architect found.

That figure does not include as much as $300,000 to dispose of construction waste.

"I believe the direction of the board is to build at one of the two sites," Ferko said.

There was little argument about the need for a new stadium from 20 to 30 people who attended a Wednesday meeting of the school board's capital reserve committee.

The group discussed the pros and cons of building in Charleroi — compared to the district's Fallowfield Township campus.

There is water and sewage service available in Charleroi, while there are infrastructure questions at Fallowfield.

While having the stadium in Charleroi benefits the downtown business district on Friday nights when the Cougars play at home, there is limited parking. The district has discussed providing transportation from Charleroi to the Fallowfield Township site if the stadium was built on campus.

However, there is just one way in and out of the Fallowfield Township campus. District officials have talked about constructing an access road there, Ferko said.

There are concerns whether FieldTurf — the playing surface under consideration — could be insured if the stadium is built in Charleroi. That site is in a flood plane. However, geotechnical studies will determine whether drilling can be done at the Fallowfield site.

"A lot of opinions were offered," Ferko said. "We had a very strong support for a new stadium. We have a very concerned community, but they want to do what's best for the kids.

The board will hold an architectural design meeting Saturday involving five firms. A sixth firm will make a presentation at the May 25 meeting.

"The site is still up for discussion, and it is up for discussion because we don't have all of the data," Ferko said. "The architect will look at the data with us."

Ferko said a decision does not have to be made before the board approves a 2010-11 budget, which must be passed by June 30. The stadium is being funded through some of the proceeds of a the $15.5 million capital improvements bond issue the board approved in November.

Ferko said the board likely will make a decision on the site this summer. That schedule would have a new stadium ready by fall 2011, Ferko said.

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