The Jim Thorpe Area School Board voted to rent the Panther Valley Stadium for the fall football season. The home games will be played at Panther Valley while the Jim Thorpe Stadium is being renovated. The renovations are set to be finished around the middle of October.
The architect from EI Associates, Gary Bannon, said that by the time the renovations are finished there would only be one or two more home games left in the season. He also stated that it would be beneficial if the team didn't play on the field right away after the renovations are finished.
Jim Thorpe's home games against Line Mountain (Sept. 9), North Schuylkill (Sept. 16) and Minersville (Oct. 7) will be on Friday nights. The home games against Mahanoy Area (Oct. 15) and Schuylkill Haven (Oct. 22) will be played on Saturday nights since the Panthers have home games scheduled that same weekend.
Over the years the stadium has had damages due to drainage deterioration. This led to the relocation and even cancellation of certain sporting events.
The renovation project will include new drainage as well as work on the irrigation system.
The project will be mostly paid for by a Revitalization Program grant from the Department of Community and Economic Growth (DCED).
"It's a shame that one graduating class has to bite the bullet. It's either we get this work done now or we lose the grant," said board member Dennis McGinley.
The goal is to begin construction around July 14. If weather permits, the stadium project could be finished around the middle of October.
The district received four different contractor bids for the project. The board voted to go with Jones Turf Management.
"We've got a contractor that I think is a highly qualified contractor," said Bannon.
The base bid was for $232,800.
The district also chose to add alternative number 4C which will mean the current field turf will be moved to the practice field and a gate will be put up. This alternative bid will cost $25,140.
Alternative number 5, which means there will be continued maintenance of the turf in the spring of 2012, was also chosen. This will cost $35,000.
The total project will cost $261,440. This is about $30,000 more than what is allotted in the grant.
The extra $30,000 will be paid for through district bonds.
Athletic director, Dustin McAndrew said that he would have to do some juggling of the sports schedules but he is glad that the project is moving forward.
Superintendent Barbara Conway agreed with McAndrew.
"I appreciate you (the board) moving forward with this," she said.