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Claysburg upgrades excite AD

CLAYSBURG — Claysburg-Kimmel School District officials are excited about plans to upgrade their athletic facilities.

School board members on Wednesday approved plans to install artificial turf — Shaw Turf, which was recently purchased by Cambria Heights — for the football/soccer field, baseball field and to build a new softball field, also with artificial turf, said Brian Helsel, assistant to the superintendent and director of special services.

The project also calls for ADA accessible metal bleachers to replace the unsafe existing concrete bleachers at the football field, an outdoor basketball court, a field house that will include a fitness center, a concession stand, an indoor batting facility, a maintenance building, a potential future gravel overflow parking lot and various walking paths within the site.

Work on the estimated $2.5 to $3 million project, which is already underway, was given a positive review last week by Blair County Planning Commission members.

“We are trying to improve our image,” Helsel said, adding that the project is badly needed.

“The bleachers (installed in 1973) are close to 50 years old and not ADA compliant, and there have been no upgrades on the fields in over 30 years,” Helsel said. “The lights were installed in 1957 with an update in the mid-’60s.”

The project will be financed from savings recognized from refinancing bonds and capital construction funds and is expected to be completed this fall.

Initial discussions for updating the athletic field complex started in 2017.

“Many conversations occurred at board meetings, along with multiple community involvement meetings over the past few years,” Helsel said. “The feedback we received from community members was extremely beneficial. Repeatedly, we heard from members that if the district decided to act on this project, that ‘we do it right.’ Within a planned budget based on refinancing bonds and capital funds saved over many years, the board felt this was the best option moving forward. We are incredibly excited about what this project will do for the district, especially our students and community.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

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