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August Completion Eyed for Wheeling Park High School Athletic Field

Photo by Scott McCloskey Work continues on the new athletic field at Wheeling Park High School. The turf field could be ready by the start of school in August if the project timeline stays on its current pace.

WHEELING — If the Ohio County Board of Education continues holding to the project timeline, the new multi-use athletic field at Wheeling Park High School could be ready by next school year.

The board heard from Sean Doyle, director of operations for McKinley Architecture and Engineering, at a work session prior to Monday evening’s board meeting. Doyle said that turf could start going down as soon as June 4, as long as the board stayed on schedule with the project timeline. Assuming that the project continues at the rate it is, the field is expected to be ready by the start of school in late August.

“I think it’s really important that we discuss the timeliness of some decisions. Because if that turf gets laid down it’s going to become really difficult, and create challenges not only with the schedule, but with cost,” Doyle said. “… I think that would probably be a big agenda item, because of the critical nature of timeliness there.”

The multi-use athletic field comes with a total price tag of around $2,070,000, including $500,000 going to lights, $200,000 for restroom and concession facilities, and nearly $600,000 on turf. Some of the timely matters concern the arrangement and placement of the lights, the two facilities, and the exact specifications and size of the field, which will include markings for several activities.

The board could take no action to address scheduling during the work session, but board president David Croft said that when the board does reconvene to address the time-sensitive matters, they would need to do so as quickly as possible.

The field, which is being constructed on land that Oglebay Park has allowed the district to use, is eyed as a community field which can be freely used for local recreation when not otherwise in use by the school district. Having proper lighting would facilitate that use for more of the year, vice-president Molly Aderholt said.

“Speaking in terms of the lights, talking to Oglebay about this, them letting us use their land, they would like to see it be a community field, open to the community,” she said. “The field does become significantly more useful with lights, in the fall especially, when it gets dark at a certain time, people just aren’t going to be able to use it the same way.

“Even more broadly speaking, we’re able to throw that field in the mix with the Highlands field, and the field downtown for tournaments that our community might be trying to bring in, for the benefit of the community,” Aderholt added. “From a usefulness perspective, how useful can this field be for as many people as possible? … How can we make it useful for the life of the field? It can become so much more useful with the lights, and how will that factor into our decision?”

The field will be constructed near the baseball fields, at the top of a hill, rather than down the hill as initially proposed. The new field is being drawn to be 60 yards wide, and soccer fields typically are between 55 and 80 yards wide. The field at Wheeling Island Stadium, where the WPHS teams currently play, is 63 yards wide.

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