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Stadium set to welcome Trojans, fans home

October 12, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After playing most of its home schedule at Shippensburg (Pa.) University, the Chambersburg Area Senior High School football team will return Friday night to a much different Trojan Stadium, but nothing compared to the changes the district will make there before the 2006 season.

The Trojans (1-5) will host the State College Little Lions (3-3) in the 7 p.m. homecoming game, although the home grandstands have been demolished. Repairs costing approximately $600,000 have been made to the stadium since the grandstands were closed in March after a floorboard snapped during a track meet.

The structurally unsound home stands were removed and the wooden plank seating on the visitors stands was replaced with aluminum. There is room for about 2,600 fans in the visitors stands, plus room for another 1,200 fans on portable bleachers set up in each end zone, according to Richard Bender, the district's director of buildings and grounds.

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The renovated visitors stands now comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, with an elevated platform across the front for wheelchair seating. Final inspection of the repairs will be Thursday, Bender said.

Plans to allow fans to sit on the small hill where the home bleachers once stood have been scrapped, Bender said Tuesday. Weather in recent weeks was too dry to plant grass seed and last weekend's rains left the area soggy, he said.

"It's all going to be first come, first served" for tickets, said Athletic Director Don Folmar. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the school will be selling about 2,600 tickets for the grandstands at $4 apiece. End-zone seating and standing-room tickets will go for $2, he said.

Bender and Folmar said the stadium probably can accommodate 4,000 spectators, including standing room. Folmar said the team used to average about 6,000 spectators for home games.

By next season, fans and players will have a hard time recognizing the place, Bender said. By December, Bender said he expects design and engineering for a new stadium to be completed and bids advertised for a renovation of the stadium costing between $4.4 million and $5.5 million.

"We're hoping to begin construction by March ... It will take a full five months to complete," Bender said. The first part of the project, he said, will involve demolishing much of what is now there, the renovated visitors bleachers being an exception.

"It'll pretty much be a bare piece of dirt ... We've got quite a lot of infrastructure to install," Bender said. That includes new underground water, sewer, gas and electrical service, foundations for grandstands and buildings, and removal of the track foundation.

The six-lane track will be replaced by an eight-lane oval and the field will be artificial turf. This coming spring, the track team will have all away meets and will practice at Faust Junior High while the project is in progress, he said.

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