Architect Selected for Monarch Stadium Renovations in Moundsville

Photo by Alan Olson Monarch Stadium sits quiet as winter approaches, before renovation and repair work takes place.

MOUNDSVILLE — The Marshall County Board of Education has selected Blacksburg, Va.-based OWPR Architects and Engineers as the principal designers for a multi-million-dollar renovation to John Marshall High School’s Monarch Stadium expected to be complete in time for the 2018 football season.

The firm, which has an office in Martinsburg, W.Va., made an impression on Superintendent Jeffrey Crook, who noted OWPR was one of four companies selected by the board for more thorough vetting. He said the company already had been selected for another engineering project in the county.

“One thing that impressed us was that they were very responsive to what our needs are,” Crook said. “Believe me, it was a hard decision — we had a lot of great companies. But when you get down to it, there has to be a comfort level, and this is the same company that the committee selected for the child nutrition building. … They have a little bit of everything. Looking at their past experience, similar projects they’ve completed, when they can do the project. … With a stadium, this isn’t just a short-term program. This is something that’s going to be around for a long time.”

School district spokesman Tony Wood said the board made its decision after receiving input from numerous department heads and school officials.

“This is a group project. This is not one person making this decision, because you’ve got a number of sports — you have soccer, track, cross country, football — the community will be using this, as well. It’s a multi-use location,” added Crook. “You’ve got some challenges with the site. Part of the facility is in the floodplain. As we go through the design process with the stakeholders, (those will) be some of the challenges they’ll have to address.”

The overall cost estimate for the renovations, to be completed in three phases, is almost $9 million. Although officials hope to have the first phase completed in time for the 2018 football season, the last phase is scheduled to wrap up by the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Adherence to the project timeline and budget were factors which led to the selection of OWPR, according to Crook.

“That was one of the criteria, because we do have a timeline we want them to follow .. ,” Crook said. “We’re hoping with some of the design that we can come in a bit (under budget).”

The new field is expected to see numerous improvements, including structural reinforcement, a rubberized track, new home grandstands, a new entrance gate, designated space for emergency vehicles and their equipment, and expanded parking.

Additionally, multimedia classes will be able to use the new stadium’s press box, which John Marshall’s mass media class uses to do live broadcasts of their games.

“That’s a big part of what they do with the television station at the high school, is a live broadcast of the game. That’s a big deal, when you’re talking about constructing a classroom, or a lab, so to speak, you have to get input from people who are using that,” Crook said.

Phase One is set to be completed by August 24, 2018, with lighting and home seating complete, while construction on Phases Two and Three to continue in time for the deadline the following year.