For years, the Boardman community has been talking about building a new sports complex on the high school campus. On Friday, all that talk turned into reality as a campaign kicked off to begin raising the estimated $4 million needed to make the dream come true.
The event took place in the high school gym where coaches, school officials and community leaders gathered to see the first renderings of what the new complex would look like. It included a 5,900-seat facility and an all-season synthetic playing field. The plan includes a new press box, locker rooms for visiting teams, new scoreboard, ticket booths and restrooms. Plans show the track would be resurfaced and the new stadium would provide a larger parking lot for sporting events.
Heading up the Friday meeting was Boardman Booster Club President Bill Bonte. He said the community feels the time is right to begin the project.
Plans for phase I of the proposed regional sports complex at Boardman High School
"They've waited for the right time and they are now convinced this is it," he said.
Bonte had been working on the project for the past two years. He said when the economy went south, it was put on hold, but now things look like they are getting better. He emphasized that the project would be funded totally through donations and that no school funds would be used.
To help get the ball rolling, BHS class of 2001 graduate Carlee Tressel made the trip to her alma mater to help kick off the campaign.
"We observe the commitment other Mahoning Valley schools have made to their sports programs with new or renovated facilities," she said. "I believe it is Boardman's time to shine."
The facility would include synthetic turf that would be marked for both football and soccer. BHS head football coach Mark D'Eramo said it will be a welcomed sight.
"We are in the Federal League and our field is horrendous compared to the other teams in the league," he said. "Plus we have been waiting for this for a long time."
BHS Principal and 1984 football alumnus Tim Saxon said he is pleased to see this finally taking place.
"It's been a long time coming," he said. "The Boardman High School campus is a great campus. We have the Performing Arts Center that is the best around. This [new sports complex] is the missing piece."
Bonte said Friday's kick off is the first step. As for when the first shovel of dirt is turned, he said that would depend on funding. The complex can be built in phases as donations dictate. On the present field, the new synthetic turf would be one segment as would a newly resurfaced track.
The plans also call for the construction of a third building on the west side of the present facility, which would be in line with the two existing structures.
"The money coming in will dictate the timeline," Bonte said.
The project could also bring in some new sports events. Bonte, D'Eramo and Saxton agreed that once completed, Boardman could bid on regional playoff games.
For information on participating or donating to the project, contact the campaign office at 330-406-7598.