Construction on Pioneer High athletic field house making up for lost time
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The project was two weeks behind schedule earlier this month, an improvement after a rainy May delayed the construction of the foundation by four weeks until the beginning of June, said Randy Trent, executive director of physical properties for Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Trent said the 6,300-square-foot project was planned to be complete by Sept. 2 and the construction schedule may come close to the original target.
“If there is no more bad weather we will make it, and if not, we’ll be off by a week or two,” he said.
The funds for the project are coming from the remainder of the district’s 2002 sinking fund project. The project includes dressing room facilities and a new practice turf field, which is expected to be completed on schedule.
The new practice turf field is the most exciting aspect of the project for boys lacrosse coach James Corey.
Corey said that, while the old facilities at Pioneer were "pretty archaic," having the new practice turf field will allow the program, along with the girls lacrosse program, to have a much easier time scheduling. He said practices would often be running from between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the season when each team needed time for practice.
"Because of Michigan's late spring, grass isn't a real option," he said. "We'll mostly be on the new field and we'll be much more competitive because we can have a much more open schedule."
District spokesperson Liz Margolis said the old dressing rooms underneath the stands at Hollway Field are outdated and leaky. She said having the new dressing rooms in the fieldhouse would greatly improve the experience for athletes.
"Those ones under the stands were unsafe," she said.
Corey confirmed this, saying that the dressing rooms located under the stands at Hollway Field leaked heavily during rain and were very cramped. He said it wasn't unusual to see teams changing and getting ready in the hallway.
To view a PowerPoint presentation from the school district on the fieldhouse project, click here.
The sinking fund is legally separated from the district's general fund, meaning the money the district spends on construction projects could not be spent on educational resources or personnel.
The project was approved unanimously approved by the Ann Arbor school board in early March.
The majority of the projects are taking place near Hollway Field. Crews are building new home and visitor dressing rooms, restrooms, an officials dressing room, a concession stand and a small stand on the visitors side of the field.
The project was originally supposed to include a weight training facility, but that has since been built inside the school instead.
Betsy Petoskey, president of the Pioneer Booster Club, said the construction project has been about 10 years in the making.
The original facilities were built at the same time the school was in the 1950s and were meant to hold just the football program, she said. Since that time, the school has been retrofitted to provide more access for the six programs that now use Hollway Field for their games.
Petoskey said all of the improvements will meet the evolving needs of the school's athletes.
“When Hollway Field first opened, it was just football. Now six sports use the field,” she said. “The needs have changed a lot. This is going to be great for our student-athletes.”
According to district documents, Blaze Contracting will be paid $337,600 for site work, Fieldturf USA will be paid $549,103 for the synthetic turf work, Heaney General Contracting will be paid $945,949 for general trades, Mills Mechanical will be paid $289,000 for mechanical work and Huron Valley Electric will be paid $228,000 for electrical work.