EAST LIVERPOOL - The improvement project at Patterson Stadium has been completed, and the public is being invited by the city school district to view the new and renovated facilities at an open house and dedication ceremony from 4-6 p.m. Thursday.
A plaque dedicating the project will be hung at 5:30 p.m., following a flag-raising and National Anthem performed by the band and choir.
The cheerleaders are also to be on hand for what Superintendent James Herring described as "a little pep rally."
Morning Journal/Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert
White mums and engraved pavers welcome visitors to Patterson Stadium, where an open house will be held from 4-6 p.m. Thursday to allow the public a view of the newly renovated facility.
The public is invited to watch the football team at its warm-up which Herring said begins about 6:15 p.m.
A public pasta dinner provided by Casa de Emanuel will be served between 4-6 p.m. in the Westgate cafeteria for $8 per person, sponsored by the Touchdown Club.
Started in May 2012, the project has run into several delays and controversies, but Herring said it is now essentially completed and, in the opinion of those who have seen it, is "the best-looking facility in the Ohio Valley."
Although Herring did not have the final figure on what the renovation cost, he estimated it to be between $1.1 and $1.2 million, which was paid with money borrowed by the school district from Huntington Bank to complete several projects.
The stadium is the last of those projects to be completed, he said, adding, "It was worth the time and effort the board put into this facility. It's top-notch, A-1."
New visitor and home locker room buildings were constructed, with a new public restroom facility contained in the visitor building near the entrance to the stadium.
The new restroom is tiled to facilitate easier cleaning that makes it more sanitary, according to Herring.
The visitor's locker room was designed without lockers, just hooks for the visiting teams' clothing and uniforms, so it could easily be converted for use as a wrestling room, Herring explained.
Instead of buying new lockers for the home locker room, it has been equipped with the metal lockers from the former locker room underneath the stadium, which were painted by members of the football team and coaches.
Volunteers stepped up and painted the ticket booth so it matches the new buildings, and the fencing was also painted to give it a fresh look.
"Everything now ties in and looks brand new. I really appreciated the volunteers," Herring said.
The walkway leading from the ticket booth to the field between the new locker rooms has been paved with red brick pavers, some of which are engraved in honor or in memory of people, and Herring said pavers are still available.
The engraved bricks can be purchased for $60 each or $50 each for two or more by stopping in at the superintendent's office at Westgate or online at the district's website.
White mums have been planted along the walkway, and Herring said other landscaping and site work was also done at the facility, with hydroseed planted so grass grew quickly.
The Hall of Fame Committee also took on the project of buying and installing a new flag pole and flag at the location where it stood back in the early days of the stadium.
For along the sidelines, the school board recently approved the purchase of a special playing tarp in the Potters' blue color that allows the rain and air to permeate it so it does not kill the grass as some other coverings can.
Herring said with a smile, "We still have natural turf. I always say if it's good enough for Ohio State, it's good enough for us. I like natural turf for the players, although artificial turf takes more wear and tear."
Anything left to done now would be minor tweaks, according to Herring, who said the state has issued occupancy permits to the district for the facility.
Renovation of the stands in the stadium had been in the original plans but ended up not in the budget, but Herring said they got a facelift of sorts, nonetheless.
"We did a lot of sparring we took out loose concrete, refinished the concrete and sealed it with specialized paint. It came out pretty nice. We did a lot in-house and hopefully we'll get several years out of it if we maintain it," he said.
The stadium is an "icon," Herring said, pointing out, "You don't see too many WPA projects still standing."
Created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, the Works Progress Administration was designed to create jobs for Americans hard-hit by the Great Depression.
Architect for the project was A&I Studios headed by Scott Shepherd, and general contractor was Tice Builders, headed by Mike Tice. Both are local businesses.