From delays to first game: Rogers Stadium is almost finished

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From delays to first game: Rogers Stadium is almost finished

Photo by Maddie Morelli

Photo by Maddie Morelli

Photo by Maddie Morelli

Photo by Maddie Morelli

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The end of April 2018 started demolition on Bellefonte Area School District’s Rogers Stadium. A new field, a new track, and even new stands were all part of the renovations that would be a part of the new facility. Due to delays and setbacks, now, two and a half years later, the project is almost finished.

For years, the BASD had an outdated stadium, which many around the district knew.

“The old field was difficult to play on, being a very uneven and small surface… the bleachers were uncomfortable and not the safest. We managed to even break a bench in Raider Nation my freshman year,” junior student athlete Mia Johnson said.

Director of Fiscal Affairs Mr. Ken Bean, who oversaw some aspects of the project, also said how the old field was in need of improvements.

 “The old stadium was in need of repair and modernization. The field itself was very hard as the ground was very impacted from use over the years,” Mr. Bean said.

The School Board recognized this and over time created a plan to build the new facility.

In a multi-part interview, BASD’s Public Relations Director Brit Milazzo and Director of Physical Plant Aaron Barto talked about how the two phases of the plan would work. Phase one included many parts, such as  the turf field, drainage, lighting, bleachers, and the paving base for the track. Phase two included many of the buildings, such as concessions, ticket booths, and also building the new track. The first phase ran into issues including a record rainfall and a dispute over the site work contractor. Due to that, the first phase didn’t end until late in the fall season, causing many venues for the fall teams to be off site.  

This upset many fall sports players and fans. 

Not having a field though makes it difficult to have a place to practice consistently,” junior student athlete John Besch said.

Luckily, phase one was completed in time to hold the infamous Curtain Bowl, which ended with a win for Bellefonte beating their rival, Bald Eagle. Phase two was completed by August 22, and there have already been multiple soccer and football games held on the field. 

“The new field is extremely nice to play on, and I really enjoy the smoothness it offers as opposed to the bumpy old grass,” Mia said.

Along with the phases, there was a plan set in place how to pay for it all. The project included $3 million in funding through grants, $3 million from the district, and $1 million through a capital campaign. Now nearing the end of construction, the district has asked for $3.1 million in capital funding instead of the $1 million. That has led many to believe that the project is also over budget. According to Mr. Bean, however, the project is mostly funded for. What the district hopes to do with the capital campaign is to put it toward other things too, such as a new and/or renovated baseball field, which was also destroyed during the renovation. It has raised around half a million dollars already. 

“The capital campaign needs to provide $1.1 million to cover the costs of the stadium renovations, which total $7.5 million,” Mr. Bean said.

With many setbacks, delays, and disputes, the facility is almost finished, and the enthusiasm is clearly evident within the student body. 

“The new field is great, and I am thankful for all the amazing new opportunities that were created because of it,” Mia said.

John agrees that the benefits of the field outweigh the costs.

“It hasn’t just helped the football team but it has helped a lot of sports,” John said.