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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Local Facilities Update: College of Wooster and Akron U.

Two local colleges are in the midst of getting facility upgrades. The University of Akron is getting an entirely new complex, while the College of Wooster is getting new Sprinturf installed at John P. Papp Stadium as part of a bigger renovation.

University of Akron - Infocision Stadium - Summa Field
What a mouthful. Coporate naming rights run amok in my opinion, but whatever, that's where sports is/are headed, even at the high school level. For example, Strongsville's high school field is named Pat Catan (the craft store) Stadium, and if you looked at our endzones last year, you saw signs for Wayne College and other sponsors. I wish I could find the list of potential sponsorship opportunities for this new stadium, it was everything from locker rooms, press boxes, ticket gates, you name it. I was surprised that the urinals and nacho cheese warmers weren't up for sponsorship.

OK, off my soapbox, the new field in Akron is a $60+ million project and is the capstone to the complete revamping of the Akron campus. It really will be the new jewel of downtown Akron, and a vast improvement from the old Rubber Bowl (a dump...and I mean that, nothing good about that place at all, except the beatdown we put on Manchester in the 1995 playoffs...that was the game where a storm passed through right before kickoff?).

It will almost certainly be a facility used for high school playoff games as well. It has already been announced that St. Vincent-St. Mary and Akron Hoban will be the first high school game played at the new field on Friday Sept. 18th. I'm sure Akron City League games will be played there as well.

I could certainly see some regional finals and state semifinals games being played there as well. Sadly, as long as Orrville is in Region 14, the soonest we'll get an up close look at the stadium will be in the State semifinals, if then.

The field will open on September 12th as the Zips host Morgan St. and then against Indiana a week later.

Here is the webcam showing the progress of the stadium from several angles....looks like the goal posts are in the ground, posts for the scoreboard have been installed and base drainage material has been installed for the field turf.

College of Wooster - John P. Papp Stadium that's a solid stadium name.

Nevermind....scratch that. It's officially the John P. Papp Stadium at Severance Field (and also includes the Carl Munson All-Weather track)...sheesh. At least they're named after donors, not big corporate names that sound (and look) terrible.

For the record, I've never been to a football game at the College, plenty of basketball games, but never a football game. But it's certainly a nice facility, and long been respected for having a very well maintained natural grass surface, unless it rains. So nice you can even wear it on your helmet. I imagine giving up that badge of honor and going with turf was a tough decision, but I'm sure it came down to dollars and cents (and sense).

The decision was made to go with the Sprinturf company out of Wayne, PA. Here is the press release. The project will also include a drainage system update, new lighting and renovation of the track.

This will also be the first football field in Wayne County to utilize synthetic turf, making it a very attractive facility for county games and potential playoff games. I hope Orrville is the 2nd field in the county, and first high school field to get turf, but I ain't holding my breath, and neither should you. Seriously, don''s not healthy.

I wish the renovation would have included adding bleachers on the other side of the field. Not so sure how eager the state would be to have fans from both schools on the same side of the field for a local rivalry or a playoff game. Can you imagine Orrville and Wooster fans sitting next to each other? It'd be like dog & cats, Hatfields & McCoys...or just simply Red Riders & Generals.

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