JOHNSTOWN, Pa .– Sargent’s Stadium at the Point received a special – and late – delivery Wednesday afternoon.
A semi-trailer loaded with 15-foot-long rolls of artificial turf has arrived at the stadium in downtown Johnstown. The components of the new playing surface have been unloaded and placed inside the Point, where installation is expected to begin on Thursday.
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“The city is thrilled to receive this turf,” said Jared Campagna, director of Johnstown’s public works department. “We waited a little while and ran into issues with COVID outbreaks at their manufacturing facility and another issue with receiving materials.
“The sod is on site and we plan to start the installation as early as (Thursday) morning,” Campagna said.
“They plan to install from a week to a week and a few days.”
FieldTurf’s $ 421,733 project was approximately 40% below the $ 700,000 range originally anticipated.
The original artificial playing surface was installed in 2007 and outlasted the typical 10 year lifespan for such surfaces.
The new turf will come with a 10-year warranty, city officials said in May.
The project began shortly after the 76th AAABA tournament ended in August, but a COVID-19 situation at the company that makes the artificial turf halted work in early September.
Originally, the new turf had to be installed in time for Bishop McCort Catholic to play his September 17 home game against Chestnut Ridge at the Point.
But since then, the Crushers have played at home at Shade High School and Trojan Stadium in Greater Johnstown. A home game on October 15 against Central High School is scheduled in Shade.
Campagna said installing the new sod could take a week to 10 days, weather permitting. A worker helping to position the turf rollers on the Point’s gravel-covered surface on Wednesday agreed with that assessment.
Bishop McCort’s Catholic athletic director Ralph DeMarco has said the Crimson Crushers are now hoping the team can play their final home date of the season against Westmont Hilltop at Sargent Stadium on October 29.
“We kept our hopes up throughout the season,” said DeMarco. “I think it would be huge for our whole football team to be able to play the last home game at Point. But for our seniors, I don’t know what adjective I could put on it. It would be amazing for them to play their last home game at Le Point. I’m sure it’s something they’ve always hoped to do.
Another part of the stadium renovations is expected to begin next month, Campagna said. LED lights will replace current lighting in a stadium with a long history of lighting malfunctions, especially during the annual AAABA tournament.
“These are all LED lights, which will reduce our energy costs and increase the illumination on the field surface,” Campagna said. “The original plan was to have the lights installed as soon as the sod was installed. But we’re trying to bring in some McCort games, so we’ve pushed the lights back. We have a build date (for lights) of November 1st.
Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association President George Arcurio III welcomed the news of the arrival of turf and plans to improve lighting. The Oldtimers sponsor the AAABA tournament, which brings thousands of people and significant income to the city every year.
“I’m really happy to see that the administration, council members and the mayor have followed through on their commitment to the organizations that use the Pointe and make it a better place,” said Arcurio. “With the new improvements, the AAABA tournament will be a bigger success next year than it was this year, which was one of our best.”
The upgrades will add to the appeal of the historic stadium, according to Georgianne Matava, owner of the semi-professional Flood City Thunder football team which plays home games at Sargent Stadium.
“In the league we are in, all the teams facing us want to play in the stadium because of the grass and the beauty of the stadium,” said Matava, whose team plays in the Great Eastern Football Association. “I’m happy that the new turf is part of our season next spring.
Johnstown Mill Rats manager Parker Lynn expects the upgrades to bolster the sophomore franchise’s ability to recruit players and draw fans into the college-aged and sticky Prospect League. drink.
“This was one of the new developments that we were excited to hear happening at The Point,” said Lynn. “Le Point is a great stadium with a great history. Now it will have a new turf and we hope to add a new story to the new playing surface.
“Everyone who uses the stadium – Pitt-Johnstown, the JCBL, the high schools and us – will benefit. Everyone can’t wait to see the final product.
Mike Mastovich is a sports journalist and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on twitter @ Masty81.