WADSWORTH: A $2.8 million renovation of Art Wright Stadium, the home of the Wadsworth Grizzlies football team at 185 Grandview Avenue, is expected to be completed Aug. 18, school treasurer Douglas Beeman said.
The city's Planning Commission approved the project at a special meeting Jan. 29.
According to information supplied to the commission by Braun & Steidl Architects, the objectives of the renovation are to provide handicapped-accessibility throughout the stadium, increase the playability and safety of the game field, improve the visitors' bleachers, meet the restroom facility demands and enhance aesthetics.
The main entrance on the south side of the stadium and the parking lot will be altered to improve handicap accessibility. Also, interior circulation will be enhanced.
The field at the stadium will receive a few renovations as well.
The natural turf will be replaced with a synthetic grass surface. "Wadsworth" is emblazoned on the north side of the field and "Grizzlies" on the south side with a large grizzly paw at midfield.
Currently, the field is sloping by five feet from the northeast to the southwest. It will be lowered in the northeast and raised in the southwest to fix the slope. Retaining walls will also be installed along the north and south end zones. The field will also be expanded eastward to provide for soccer and lacrosse play.
When the leveling of the playing field is accomplished, a new drainage system will be installed. Rob Habel of the Braun & Steidl firm told the commission a layer of gravel will allow the water to percolate through it providing a filtering system to preclean the water. The new drainage system will capture storm water through an underground management system and discharge the water to a management basin west of the home grandstands.
In addition to the field improvements, the bleachers for visitors on the east side of the stadium will be removed and a new aluminum bleacher system installed. The new bleachers will seat 2,500; the old ones only sat 1,000. Located below the new bleachers will be restrooms and storage; above the new bleachers, a 500-square-foot press box.
The improved facility is expected to be ready for the Grizzlies' first football game of the season Aug. 30 against Ashland High School.
Beeman explained the improvements will be funded by the Medina County Sales Tax, interest proceeds from the construction project and $375,000 -- half the cost of the turf-- raised by the stadium field turf committee.